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MODERN  RELIGIOl 
MOVEMENTS 
IN  INDIA 


THE    HARTFORD-LAMSON   LECTURES 
ON  THE  RELIGIONS  OF  THE  WORLD 


MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS 
IN    INDIA 


THE  MACMILLAN  COMPANY 

NEW  YORK    •    BOSTON   •    CHICAGO    •    DALLAS 
ATLANTA   •    SAN    FRANCISCO 

MACMILLAN  &  CO.,  LIMITED 

LONDON    •    BOMBAY    •    CALCUTTA 
MELBOURNE 

THE  MACMILLAN  CO.  OF  CANADA,  LTD. 

TORONTO 


From  life-size  portrait  l>\  H\KK< 
in  Bristol  Museum. 


By  permission  of  the  Committee  of  the  Museum 
and  Art  Gallery. 


RAJA    RAM    MOHAN    RAY 
Founder  of  the  Brahma  Samaj. 


MODERN 

RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS 
IN  INDIA 


BY 


J.   N.    FARQUHAR,    M.A. 

LITERARY  SECRETARY,   NATIONAL  COUNCIL   OF  YOUNG  MEN'S 
CHRISTIAN   ASSOCIATIONS,   INDIA  AND  CEYLON 

AUTHOR  OF 
"A  PRIMER  OF  HINDUISM,"   "THE  CROWN   OF  HINDUISM" 


Jforfe 

THE   MACMILLAN   COMPANY 
1915 

All  rights  reserved 


COPYRIGHT,  1915, 
BY  THE  MACMILLAN  COMPANY. 


Set  up  and  electrotyped.     Published  February,  1915. 


5L 


F3 


J.  8.  Gushing  Co.  —  Berwick  &  Smith  Co. 
Norwood,  Mass.,  U.S.A. 


rHE  HARTFORD- LAMSON   LECTURES  ON  "THE  RELIGIONS 
OF  THE  WORLD  "  ARE  DELIVERED  AT   HARTFORD  THEO 
LOGICAL  SEMINARY  IN  CONNECTION  WITH  THE  LAMSON  FUND, 

WHICH  WAS  ESTABLISHED  BY  A  GROUP  OF  FRIENDS   IN   HONOUR 

OF  THE  LATE  CHARLES  M.  LAMSON,  D.D.,  SOMETIME  PRESIDENT 
OF  THE  AMERICAN  BOARD  OF  COMMISSIONERS  FOR  FOREIGN 
MISSIONS,  TO  ASSIST  IN  PREPARING  STUDENTS  FOR  THE  FOREIGN 
MISSIONARY  FIELD.  THE  LECTURES  ARE  DESIGNED  PRIMARILY 
TO  GIVE  SUCH  STUDENTS  A  GOOD  KNOWLEDGE  OF  THE  RELI 
GIOUS  HISTORY,  BELIEFS  AND  CUSTOMS  OF  THE  PEOPLES  AMONG 
WHOM  THEY  EXPECT  TO  LABOUR.  As  THEY  ARE  DELIVERED  BY 
SCHOLARS  OF  THE  FIRST  RANK,  WHO  ARE  AUTHORITIES  IN  THEIR 
RESPECTIVE  FIELDS,  IT  IS  EXPECTED  THAT  IN  PUBLISHED  FORM 
THEY  WILL  PROVE  TO  BE  OF  VALUE  TO  STUDENTS  GENERALLY. 


PREFACE 

TOWARDS  the  close  of  1912  Dr.  W.  Douglas  Mackenzie, 
President  of  Hartford  Theological  Seminary,  Hartford, 
Conn.,  invited  me  to  deliver,  as  Lamson  Lecturer  for  1913, 
a  course  of  eight  lectures  on  Modern  Religious  Movements 
in  India.  The  subject  was  extremely  attractive.  It  was 
clear  that  to  bring  these  many  movements  together,  ar 
range  them  in  related  groups,  and  set  them  forth  as  vary 
ing  expressions  of  a  great  religious  upheaval  would  be  a 
far  more  illuminating  piece  of  work  than  the  description 
of  them  as  units  ever  could  be.  But  the  difficulties  in 
volved  in  the  proposed  investigation  were  so  great  that  it 
was  only  after  much  inward  questioning  as  to  whether  I 
ought  to  dare  the  task  that  I  decided  to  attempt  it. 

The  first  difficulty  of  the  subject  lies  in  the  fact  that  the 
majority  of  these  numerous  and  very  varied  movements, 
scattered  over  every  part  of  India,  have  never  been  de 
scribed  before.  In  the  case  of  a  few  of  the  more  note 
worthy,  excellent  monographs  do  exist.  The  following 
books  and  pamphlets  proved  of  signal  service  in  my  inves 
tigation  : 

Sastri,  History  of  the  Brahma  Samdj  (including  the 
Prarthana  Samaj);  Griswold,  art.  Arya  Samdj  in  ERE.; 
Griswold,  The  Chet  Kami  Sect ;  Griswold,  Mirza  Ghuldm 
Ahmad,  the  Mehdl  Messiah  of  Qadian ;  Griswold,  The 
Rddhd  Swdml  Sect ;  Griswold,  Pandit  Agnihotri  and  the 
Deva  Samdj ;  Chirol,  Indian  Unrest.  There  are  also  sev- 

vii 


viii  PREFACE 

eral  valuable  biographical  works  —  notably,  Max  Miiller's 
RdmakrisJina,  Prof.  M.  N.  Gupta's  Gospel  of  Srl-Rdma- 
krisJina,  Dayananda's  Autobiography,  and  SolovyofP s  Mod 
ern  Priestess  of  I  sis,  —  which  enable  the  student  to  see,  in  a 
measure,  the  genesis  of  the  movements  to  which  they  are 
related.  But,  apart  from  these  two  groups  of  good  au 
thorities,  it  was  necessary  to  conduct  the  investigation 
almost  entirely  by  personal  visits  and  interviews,  or,  less 
satisfactorily,  by  correspondence.  By  these  means  nearly 
all  the  fresh  matter  in  the  following  chapters  was  gathered. 
A  small  amount  of  the  new  material  comes  from  another 
source,  viz.,  the  apologetic  and  propagandist  literature  of 
the  various  movements ;  but,  with  the  exception  of  certain 
systematic  statements  of  creed  (e.g.  Rddhd  Sodmi  Mat 
Prakdsh,  A  Dialogue  about  the  Deva  Samdj,  and  Lead- 
beater's  Textbook  of  Theosophy\  these  innumerable  book 
lets,  pamphlets  and  tracts  in  many  tongues  have  provided 
only  a  scanty  gleaning  of  significant  facts. 

But  the  subject  carries  within  it  a  still  more  intimate 
difficulty.  Even  if  abundance  of  information  were  forth 
coming  about  any  one  of  these  most  noteworthy  uprisings 
of  the  Indian  spirit,  there  would  still  remain  the  difficulty 
of  understanding  it,  the  possibility  of  totally  misconceiving 
the  forces  that  have  created  it,  of  fastening  one's  eyes  on 
externals  and  failing  to  feel  the  beatings  of  the  heart. 

Others  must  decide  whether  I  did  right  in  attempting 
the  task,  and  how  far  I  have  succeeded  in  it.  What 
weighed  with  me  was  the  fact  that  my  past  experience  had 
given  me  a  partial  preparation  for  the  work,  and  that  my 
present  circumstances  afford  me  unusual  facilities  for 
getting  the  necessary  information. 

I  spent  in  Calcutta  eleven  years  as  a  Professor  in  a 
Missionary  College  and  five  as  an  Association  Secretary 
among  educated  non-Christians.  During  those  sixteen 
years  I  was  constantly  in  touch  with  Chaitanyas,  Brahmas, 


PREFACE  IX 

Aryas,  Theosophists,  followers  of  Ramakrishna  and  young 
men  interested  in  other  North  India  movements.  Two 
pieces  of  work  arose  from  this  contact :  Gltd  and  Gospel 
(1903),  a  booklet  dealing  with  the  Nee-Krishna  Movement 
in  Bengal,  and  art.  Brahma  Samdj  in  ERE.  (1909). 

During  the  next  five  years  my  duties  required  me  to 
travel  all  over  India  with  little  intermission  and  to  deliver 
religious  addresses  in  all  the  important  towns.  I  was  thus 
brought  into  personal  contact  with  men  of  almost  every 
type  of  religious  belief ;  while  my  one  study  was  Hindu 
ism. 

A  recent  modification  of  my  work  has  given  me  special 
opportunities  for  interviewing  individuals  and  learning 
facts  with  a  view  to  these  lectures.  Fresh  arrangements, 
made  by  Dr.  J.  R.  Mott  and  the  Committee  in  New  York, 
have  enabled  me  since  the  spring  of  1912  to  spend  the 
summers  in  England  in  literary  work  and  the  winters  in 
India  lecturing  and  teaching.  The  invitation  to  give  the 
Lamson  Lectures  reached  me  late  in  1912.  That  winter 
I  visited  Bombay,  Jubbulpore,  Allahabad,  Benares,  Lahore, 
Calcutta,  Puri,  Madras,  Conjeeveram,  Bangalore,  Mysore 
City,  Palamcottah,  Madura,  Trichy,  Tanjore,  Kumbakonam, 
Pudukottai ;  and  almost  everywhere  I  was  able  to  have 
long  conversations  with  intelligent  men  about  the  sect  or 
movement  they  were  interested  in,  to  visit  buildings,  and 
to  pick  up  literature  and  photographs.  The  summer  of 
1913  was  spent  in  Oxford,  preparing  the  lectures.  This 
enabled  me  to  use  the  Bodleian  Library  and  the  British 
Museum  and  to  consult  many  men  in  and  about  London 
who  have  special  knowledge  of  certain  of  the  movements 
dealt  with.  After  delivering  the  lectures  in  Hartford, 
Conn.,  in  October,  1913,  I  returned  to  India,  and  visited 
Poona,  Hyderabad  (Deccan),  Bangalore,  Madras,  Trichy, 
Madura,  Palamcottah,  Nagarcoil,  Trevandrum,  Quilon, 
Calicut,  Tellicherry,  Calcutta,  Jamalpore,  Jubbulpore, 


x  PREFACE 

Allahabad,  Cawnpore,  Lucknow,  Agra,  Lahore,  Rajkot 
(Kathiawar),  Bombay.  I  thereby  gained  much  fresh  infor 
mation,  and  was  able  to  settle  scores  of  questions  which 
had  arisen  in  my  mind  in  the  course  of  writing  the 
lectures. 

Thus,  one  way  or  another,  I  have  had  personal  inter 
course  with  adherents  of  all  the  movements  described  in 
this  book,  with  the  exception  of  a  few  of  the  smallest  and 
most  obscure. 

I  have  felt  cramped  for  want  of  space.  To  deal  with 
the  whole  subject  adequately  would  have  required  two  vol 
umes  instead  of  one.  I  have  thus  been  compelled  to  com 
press  the  matter  very  seriously  everywhere.  I  trust  this 
has  not  resulted  in  making  my  sentences  and  paragraphs 
unintelligible.  It  certainly  has  reduced  the  last  chapter 
to  rather  an  arid  catalogue  of  facts.  Necessarily,  the  eight 
lectures  delivered  in  Hartford  contained  far  less  material 
than  the  book  does. 

Though  I  have  done  my  utmost  to  secure  accuracy  and 
to  avoid  misrepresentation,  the  movements  are  so  varied 
and  so  intricate  that  there  must  be  many  omissions  and 
mistakes.  Criticism  will  therefore  be  very  warmly  wel 
comed.  Letters  calling  attention  to  errors  and  omis 
sions,  or  suggesting  fresh  points  of  view,  may  be  sent 
either  to  86  College  Street,  Calcutta,  or  to  Oxford. 

So  many  friends  in  every  part  of  India,  and  also  in 
England  and  America,  have  helped  me  in  conversation 
and  by  correspondence  that  it  would  be  impossible  to  make 
a  complete  list  of  them.  I  wish  here,  however,  to  express 
my  heartfelt  gratitude  to  every  one  who  has  given  me  per 
sonal  assistance,  whether  much  or  little  ;  for,  without  them, 
the  book  could  never  have  been  written.  I  mention  in 
the  footnotes  the  names  of  those  who  have  helped  me 
at  the  most  critical  points,  because  in  these  cases  it  is 
necessary  to  give  the  source  of  my  information.  But  my 


PREFACE  xi 

gratitude  is  quite  as  great  to  those  whose  names  are  not 
mentioned. 

The  portraits  scattered  through  the  text  may  help  readers 
to  seize  in  a  more  vivid  way  the  character  and  tempera 
ment  of  the  men  and  women  who  created  these  religious 
movements.  A  few  of  them  are  new,  but  all  the  others 
have  been  published  before.  Of  these,  some  are  quite  well 
known ;  but  the  rest,  having  appeared  only  in  obscure 
Indian  books  and  periodicals,  must  be  quite  new  to  the 
general  reader.  In  any  case  it  seems  worth  while  bring 
ing  them  together  as  a  series  of  religious  leaders. 

I  wish  here  to  express  my  most  grateful  thanks  to  those 
whose  kindness  has  made  possible  the  publication  of  these 
portraits ;  first  to  the  following  for  gifts  of  photographs 
and  leave  to  publish  them  : 

Donors  Portraits 

The  Committee  of  the  Museum  and  Art 

Gallery,  Bristol  .....     Raja  Ram  Mohan  Ray 
Mr.  N.  C.  Sen,  Private  Secretary  to  the 

Maharani  of  Cooch  Behar  .         .         .     Keshab  Chandra  Sen 

(father  of  the  donor) 

Sir  R.  G.  Bhandarkar        ....     His  own 
Sir  N.  G.  Chandavarkar    .         .         .         .His  own 
Mr.  M.  N.  Katrak,  Bombay      .         .         .     Mr.  K.  R.  Cama 
Dr.  H.  D.  Griswold,  Lahore      .         .         .     Mirza  Ghulam  Ahmad 
Mr.  Sasipada  Banerjea,  Calcutta        .         .     The  symbolic  picture, 

Plate  X. 
Mr.  Mansukhlal  Ravjibhai  Mehta,  Bombay     Mr.  Rajchandra  Ravjibhai 

(brother  of  the  donor) 
Mr.  G.  K.  Devadhar,  Bombay  .         .         .     The    Hon'ble   Mr.   G.   K. 

Gokhale,  C.I.E. 

I  owe  very  special  thanks  to  Mr.  Satyendra  Nath  Ta- 
gore,  I.  C.  S.,  Retired,  who  gave  me  permission  to  take 
a  photographer  into  the  Tagore  Residence,  Calcutta,  and 
photograph  the  beautiful  portraits  of  his  grandfather  and 
father  (Plates  I  and  II). 


XU  PREFACE 

Grateful  thanks  are  also  due  to  the  following  for  per 
mission  given  to  publish  photographs  : 

Portraits 

Mrs.  Ramabai  Ranade,  Poona    .     The  late  Mr.  Justice  Ranade 
The  Arya  Samaj,  Lahore    .         .     Svaml  Dayananda  Sarasvati 
The  Radha  Soami  Satsahg          .     The  gurus 
The  Deva  Samaj         .         .         .     The  guru 
The  Ramakrishna  Mission  .     Ramakrishna     Paramahamsa     and 

Svaml  Vivekananda 

The  Theosophical  Society  .         .     Madame  Blavatsky  and  Mrs.  Besant 
Mr.  Rabindra  Nath  Tagore         .     His  own 

My  debt  to  my  friend  Dr.  H.  D.  Griswold  of  Lahore  is 
very  great ;  for  considerable  sections  of  my  third  chapter 
are  built  upon  his  scholarly  monographs  mentioned  above ; 
and  he  revised  the  whole  work  for  me  in  manuscript.  To 
him  and  to  another  friend,  the  Rev.  John  McKenzie  of 
Bombay,  who  kindly  did  for  me  the  troublesome  work 
of  revising  the  proofs,  I  offer  my  unfeigned  gratitude  and 
thanks. 

11  FRENCHAY  ROAD,  OXFORD, 
October  30,  1914. 


CONTENTS 

CHAPTER  PAGE 

I.    HISTORICAL  OUTLINE  OF  THE  PERIOD    .    .    .        .        .        i 
II.    MOVEMENTS  FAVOURING  SERIOUS  REFORM,  1828-1913  .      29 

1.  The^ Brahma  Samaj 29 

2.  The  Prarthana  Samaj  .        .        .        .        .         -74 

3.  Parsee  Reform     .......       81 

4.  Muhammadan  Reform  .         .         .         .  91 

III.  REFOJIM  CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  FAITHS, 

1870-1913  .......  101 

1.  The  Arya  Samaj 101 

2.  Sivanarayana  Paramahamsa          .         .         .         .129 

3.  The  Vedic  Mission 135 

4.  A  Castle  in  the  Air 137 

i_i   .A.    5.   The  Ahmadiyas  of  Qadian  .         .         .         .         .137 

6.  The  Nazarene  New  Church 148 

7.  The  Chet  Ramls 150 

8.  The  IsamoshipanthTs 156 

9.  The  Radha  Soami  Satsang 157 

10.  The  Deva  Samaj 173 

11.  Two  Minor  Gurus 182 

IV.  FIH.LDEFENCE  OF  THEOLD_R^LIGIPNS,  ffio-jgij       .     186 

1.  Beginnings 186 

2.  Ramakrishna  Paramahamsa          .         .         .         .188 

3.  Theosophy 208 

4.  Sectarian  Movements  in  Hinduism       .         .         .291 


A.  The  Madhvas 

B.  The  Chaitanyas      . 

C.  The  Sri-Vaishnavas 

D.  Four  Vaishnava  Sects 

E.  The  Saiva  Siddhanta 

F.  The  Lingayats 

G.  The  Left-hand  Saktas 


.     291 
.     293 

Vaishnava .  .  297 
.  .  .  .  298 
.  .  .  .299 
Saiva  .  .301 
.  303 


H.  The  Smartas 305 

Caste  Organizations     ......     308 

A.  Caste  Conferences  .....     308 

B.  The  Tiyas       .     ^  .        .        .        .        .311 

C.  The  Vokkaligas       .'..'.        .314 

xiii 


CONTENTS 


HAPTER 

6.    The  Bharata  Dharma  Mahamandala    . 
7.   The  All-India  Suddhi  Sabha 

PAGE 
•        316 

•     323 

•     324 
•     336 

•     143 

147 

12.    Sectarian  Universities           .... 
V.    RELIGIOUS^NATIONALISM,  1895-1913 

•     352 
•     354 
.    355 

A                 U" 

2.    Industry,  Science,  Economics 
3.    Social  and  Political  Service 
A.  Help  for  the  Depressed  Classes 
B.   Universal  Education 
C.   The  Servants  of  India  Society 
D.  The  Seva  Sadan      . 

•     365 
.    366 
.    366 
•     375 
•     376 
.     380 
.     382 

5.    Poetry          

VI.      SOCIALREFORMAND   SERVICE,     1  828-^0,1.3       . 

•     383 
.     387 
•     387 
•     39i 
-     395 
•     396 

i.    Historical  Outline        . 
2.   The  National  Social  Conference  .         .        . 
3.    Female  Infanticide       

399 

6.    Polygamy    .         .         .•-.-..• 

.     400 
.     401 

8.   The  Zenana                   

9.    Marriage  Expenses       

10.    Domestic  Ceremonies  . 

.     405 
.     406 
.     407 
.     407 

12.   Education  of  Boys       
13.    Education  of  Girls        .         .        y?     3s    J 
,4.   Caste   .         .        *   **»»  <$»#«>*«• 
15.    Temperance          .         .  f    • 
1  6.    Social  Service      
17.   The  Criminal  Tribes    
VII.     SIGNIFICANCE  OF  THE  MOVEMENTS  . 

.     414 
/     4i6 
>*  .     418 
.     421 
.     422 
.     424 

•     430 
.    459 

IV. 


VII. 


IX. 


LIST   OF   PORTRAITS 

Raja  Ram  Mohan  Ray,  from  the  life-size  portrait  by  Biggs  in 
Bristol  Museum.  Reproduced  by  permission  of  the  Com 
mittee  of  the  Museum  and  Art  Gallery  .  .  .  Frontispiece 

PLATE  FACING  PACK 

I.     Prince  Dvvarka  Nath  Tagore,  from  the  life-size  portrait  by 

Baron  de  Schweter  in  the  Tagore  Residence,  Calcutta      39 
II.     Maharshi  Debendra  Nath  Tagore,  from  the  portrait  by  W. 

Archer,  R.  A.,  in  the  Tagore  Residence,  Calcutta       .       44 

III.     Keshab  Chandra  Sen 55 

Mr.  Justice  Ranade       .......       76 

Sir  N.  G.  Chandavarkar        ......       76 

Sir  R.  G.  Bhandarkar 76 

Kharshedji  Rustamji  Cama 76 

J  Svami  Dayananda  SarasvatI  .         .         .         .         .109 

{  Svami  Dayananda  SarasvatI          .         .         .         .         .109 

VL    Mirza  Ghulam  Ahmad      .         .         .         .         .         .         .138 

The  Wife  of  the  First  Radha  Soami  Guru      .         .         .167 
The  First  Guru     ........     167 

The  Second  Guru 167 

The  Third  Guru 167 

VIII.     Pandit  S.  N.  Agnihotri,  Guru  of  the  Deva  Samaj      .         .     177 
Ramakrishna  Paramahamsa  ......     195 

Svami  Vivekananda      .         .         .         .         .         .         .     195 

Madame  Blavatsky        .         .         .         .         .         .         -195 

Mrs.  Besant  ........     195 

X.     Ramakrishna  teaching  Keshab   the   harmony  of  all   re 
ligions       .........     198 

[  Rajchandra  Ravjibhai  .          ......     376 

XL        The  Hon'ble  Gopal  Krishna  Gokhale,  C.  I.E..         .     376 

[  Rabindra  Nath  Tagore 376 

Plans  of  rooms  at  Theosophic  Headquarters         .         .         .      234-235 


ABBREVIATIONS   USED  IN  THE  NOTES 


A  Historical  Retrospect. 
Chhajju  Singh. 
Collapse. 

Dubois. 

ERE. 

Gospel  of  R. 
HBS. 

IRM. 
ISR. 

Karaka. 

Miss  Collet. 
MPI. 

ODL. 

Proceedings. 

Ranade,  Essays. 

Richter. 

Sinnett,  Incidents. 

Social  Reform  in  Bengal. 


A  Historical  Retrospect  of  the  Theosophical 

Society,  by  H.  S.  Olcott. 
The  Life  and  Teachings  of  Swami  Dayanand 

Saraswati,  by  Bawa  Chhajju  Singh. 
The  Collapse  of  Koot  Hoomi,  a  reprint   of 

articles  from  the  Madras  Christian  Col 
lege  Magazine. 
Hindu  Manners,  Customs  and  Ceremonies, 

by  J.  A.  Dubois. 

Encyclopedia  of  Religion  and  Ethics. 
Gospel  of  Sri  Rdmakrishna,  by  M. 
History  of  the  Brahmo   Samaj,    by   Siva 

Nath  Sastri. 

The  International  Review  of  Missions. 
The  Indian  Social  Reformer. 
History  of  the  Parsees,  by  Dosabhai  Framji 

Karaka. 
Life  and  Letters  of  Raja  Rammohun  Roy,  by 

Sophia  Dobson  Collet. 
A    Modern    Priestess   of  Isis,    by    V.   S. 

Solovyoff. 

Old  Diary  Leaves,  by  H.  S.  Olcott. 
Proceedings   of  the   Society  for   Psychical 

Research. 
Religious  and  Social  Reform,  A  Collection 

of  Essays  and  Speeches,  by  M.  G.  Ranade. 
A  History  of  Missions  in  India,  by  Julius 

Richter. 
Incidents  in  the  Life  of  Madame  Blavatsky, 

by  A.  P.  Sinnett. 
Social  Reform  in  Bengal,  by  Pandit  Sita- 

natha  Tattvabhushana. 


MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS 
IN  INDIA 

CHAPTER  I 
HISTORICAL   OUTLINE   OF   THE   PERIOD 

i.  Our  subject  is  Modern  Religious  Movements  in  India, 
that  is,  the  fresh  religious  movements  which  have  appeared 
in  India  since  the  effective  introduction  of  Western  influence. 
There  are  two  great  groups  of  religious  facts  the  presence 
of  which  we  must  recognize  continuously  but  which  are 
excluded  from  our  survey  by  the  limitations  of  our  subject. 
These  are,  first,  the  old  religions  of  India,  Hinduism, 
Buddhism,  Jainism,  Zoroastrianism  and  Muhammadanism, 
so  far  as  they  retain  the  form  and  character  they  had  before 
the  coming  of  Western  influence ;  and,  secondly,  Christian 
Missions,  which  are  rather  a  continuation  of  Church  History 
than  a  modern  movement.  The  old  religions  are  the  soil 
from  which  the  modern  movements  spring;  while  it  will 
be  found  that  the  seed  has,  in  the  main,  been  sown  by  Mis 
sions.  Thus,  though  these  great  systems  are  not  included 
in  our  subject,  we  must,  throughout  our  investigation,  keep 
their  constant  activity  and  influence  in  mind. 

It  seems  clear  that  the  effective  interpenetration  of  India 
by  the  West  began  about  1800.  The  first  fresh  religious 
movement  appeared  in  1828;  the  intellectual  awakening 
of  India  began  to  manifest  itself  distinctly  about  the  same 


2      MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN    INDIA 

time ;  and  the  antecedents  of  both  go  back  to  somewhere 
about  the  beginning  of  the  century.  The  period  we  have 
to  deal  with  thus  extends  from  1800  to  1913. 

In  1800  India  was  in  a  pitiable  plight.  Early  Hindu 
governments  seldom  succeeded  in  securing  settled  peace 
even  in  the  great  central  region  of  the  country  for  any 
extended  period  of  time ;  but  matters  became  much  worse 
when  the  flood  of  Muhammadan  invasion  came  at  the  end 
of  the  twelfth  century.  When  the  nineteenth  century 
dawned,  India  had  scarcely  known  peace  for  six  hundred 
years.  Even  under  the  best  of  the  Mughals  there  was 
frequent  fighting,  and  a  good  deal  of  injustice ;  under  all 
other  Muslim  rulers  there  was  practically  constant  war  and 
frequent  outbreaks  of  barbarity;  while  the  eighteenth 
century  piled  misery  on  misery.  It  is  heartbreaking  to 
read  descriptions  of  India  at  that  time. 

We  can  now  see  that  British  supremacy  began  to  assert 
itself  with  the  battle  of  Plassey  in  1757  ;  yet  the  rulers  had 
scarcely  a  definite  policy  until  the  opening  of  the  new  cen 
tury  ;  and,  even  then,  Britain  had  not  by  any  means  awaked 
to  the  greatness  and  the  splendour  of  the  task  set  before  her 
in  India.  We  must  never  forget  that  the  East  India  Com 
pany  went  to  India  exclusively  for  commerce,  and  that  the 
British  Empire  sprang  altogether  from  the  necessity,  which 
was  only  very  gradually  realized,  of  providing  a  settled  and 
just  government  in  order  to  make  commerce  possible. 

2.  In  1800  Hinduism,  which  was  the  religion  of  at  least 
three-fourths  of  the  population  of  the  peninsula,  consisted, 
in  the  main,  of  two  great  groups  of  sects  and  a  mass  of 
wandering  celibate  ascetics,  who  were  held  to  be  outside 
society.  The  two  great  groups  of  sects  are  the  Vishnuite  and 
the  Sivaite.  The  Vishnuite  sects  were  very  numerous,  both 
in  the  North  and  in  the  South,  and  they  were  perhaps,  on  the 
whole,  more  homogeneous  than  the  worshippers  of  Siva.  The 


HISTORICAL    OUTLINE    OF    THE    PERIOD  3 

leading  Vishnuite  sects  declare  Vishnu  to  be  the  one  God,  and 
yet  they  recognize  the  existence  of  all  the  other  divinities  of 
the  Hindu  pantheon.  They  also  hold  that  Vishnu  has  been 
incarnate  among  men  a  great  many  times,  the  latest  and  chief 
incarnations  being  Rama  and  Krishna.  Worshippers  of  Siva 
declare  that  Siva  is  the  one  God,  but  recognize  also  all  the 
other  gods.  A  special  group  of  Sivaite  sects  has  to  be  noticed, 
namely,  those  who  pay  honour  to  the  wife  of  Siva  as  Kali  or 
Durga.  Both  Vishnuites  andSivaites  worship  idols,  but  among 
Sivaites  the  phallic  symbol  is  more  usual  than  images  of  the 
god.  Both  sects  worship  their  gurus,  that  is,  their  teachers, 
as  gods.  Both  are  fully  orthodox  in  the  sense  that  they  retain 
and  enforce  with  great  strictness  the  ancient  Hindu  rules  of 
conduct  which  are  summed  up  under  the  word  dharma.  Both 
sects  claim  to  be  Vedantists,  but  each  has  its  own  interpreta 
tion  of  the  philosophy.  Around  the  Hindu  community  in 
every  part  of  the  country  there  lived  multitudes  of  degraded 
Outcastes,  held  down  in  the  dirt  by  Hindu  law.  They  num 
ber  about  fifty  millions  to-day. 

When  the  century  dawned,  Hindus  were  in  a  pitifully  back 
ward  condition.  Their  subjugation  by  the  Muhammadans 
about  1200  A.D.  had  been  a  very  serious  trampling  under  foot ; 
and,  while  the  reasonable  rule  of  the  Mughals  had  given  them 
a  breathing-space,  the  terrific  convulsions  of  the  eighteenth 
century  had  more  than  undone  all  that  had  been  recovered. 
Learning  had  almost  ceased;  ordinary  education  scarcely 
existed ;  spiritual  religion  was  to  be  met  only  in  the  quietest 
places ;  and  a  coarse  idolatry  with  cruel  and  immoral  rites 
held  all  the  great  centres  of  population.  The  condition  of 
South  Indian  Hinduism  at  the  end  of  the  eighteenth  century 
is  very  vividly  reflected  in  1'Abbe  Dubois'  famous  work,  and 
the  Hinduism  of  the  North  at  the  beginning  of  the  nineteenth 
in  the  writings  of  Ram  Mohan  Ray.  The  reader  may  make 
a  rough  guess  at  the  state  of  the  Hindu  community  from  the 


4      MODERN    RELIGIOUS   MOVEMENTS   IN   INDIA 

long  list  of  reforms,  social  and  religious,  which  the  early  mis 
sionaries  felt  driven  to  demand 1  and  which  all  the  finer  spirits 
within  Hinduism  have  since  then  recognized  as  altogether 
necessary. 

Buddhism,  which  came  to  the  birth  about  525  B.C.,  attained 
extraordinary  greatness  before  the  Christian  era,  and  during 
the  next  six  centuries  not  only  spread  over  the  whole  of  Eastern 
and  Southern  Asia,  but  struggled  with  Hinduism  for  the  pri 
macy  in  India.  Thereafter  it  steadily  declined  in  the  land  of 
its  origin ;  the  Muhammadan  conquest  all  but  destroyed  it ; 
and  Hinduism  gradually  absorbed  what  remained.  Thus 
there  were  practically  no  Buddhists  in  India  proper  at  the 
opening  of  the  nineteenth  century ;  but  on  the  Himalayas, 
in  Burma  and  in  Ceylon  the  faith  was  still  supreme. 

Jainism  was  originally  an  agnostic  philosophy  which  arose 
a  little  earlier  than  Buddhism,  and,  like  Buddhism,  became 
transformed  at  an  early  date  into  a  religion  and  a  rival  of 
Hinduism.  By  the  beginning  of  our  period  the  ancient  Jain 
community  had  shrunk  to  small  proportions.  They  were 
scattered  over  a  large  part  of  the  country,  and  were  wealthy 
and  prosperous ;  but  there  was  no  vigour  in  Jainism ;  and 
there  was  a  slow,  continuous  drift  towards  Hinduism ;  so  that 
the  community  was  steadily  dwindling  in  numbers. 

The  Parsees  are  a  small  community  of  Zoroastrian  Persians 
who  fled  from  Persia  to  India  in  the  eighth  century  A.D.,  and 
have  since  then  remained  a  prosperous  business  community, 
very  exclusive  socially  and  very  faithful  to  their  ancient  re 
ligion.  They  originally  settled  in  Gujarat ;  but,  since  early 
last  century,  Bombay  has  been  their  chief  centre. 

In  1800  Muhammadanism  in  India  was  very  orthodox  and 
very  ignorant,  and  was  steadily  deteriorating.  The  collapse 
of  the  Muhammadan  governments  and  the  steady  fall  of 
Muslim  character  had  worked  sad  havoc  in  the  religion  itself. 

1  See  p.  15. 


HISTORICAL    OUTLINE    OF    THE    PERIOD  5 

Muhammadans  formed  perhaps  one-sixth  of  the  population. 
They  were  necessarily  discontented  and  crushed,  having 
been  conquered  both  by  the  Maratha  Hindus  and  by  the 
British.  Yet  they  were  not  so  cowed  nor  so  weak  as  the 
Hindus.  The  British  had  entered  into  the  heritage  of  their 
administration ;  multitudes  of  Muslims  were  still  government 
officials ;  and  Urdu,  the  hybrid  tongue  which  had  grown  up 
as  a  medium  of  communication  in  the  Muhammadan  camp, 
was  still  the  official  language  in  the  law-courts  and  elsewhere. 
The  bulk  of  public  education  was  thus  still  Muhammadan  in 
character ;  and  what  men  studied  most  was  the  Persian  and 
Urdu  languages.  Yet  the  Muslim  community  was  steadily 
declining.  There  was  no  living  movement  of  thought  and  no 
spiritual  leader  among  them. 

3.  Can  we  see  what  was  the  cause  of  the  great  Awakening 
which  began  about  1800  and  since  then  has  dominated  the  life 
and  history  of  India  ?  How  was  the  Muslim  period  so  barren 
as  compared  with  the  nineteenth  century?  How  is  it  that 
European  influence  produced  practically  no  results  between 
1500  and  1800?  Why  did  the  Awakening  begin  at  that 
particular  point  ? 

The  answer  is  that  the  Awakening  is  the  result  of  the  co 
operation  of  two  forces,  both  of  which  began  their  character 
istic  activity  about  the  same  time,  and  that  it  was  quickened 
by  a  third  which  began  to  affect  the  Indian  mind  a  little 
later.  The  two  forces  are  the  British  Government  in  India  as 
it  learned  its  task  during  the  years  at  the  close  of  the  eight 
eenth  and  the  beginning  of  the  nineteenth  centuries,  and 
Protestant  Missions 1  as  they  were  shaped  by  the  Serampore 
men  and  Duff ;  and  the  third  force  is  the  work  of  the  great 
Orientalists.  The  material  elements  of  Western  civilization 
have  had  their  influence,  but,  apart  from  the  creative  forces, 

1  Catholic  Missions  have  been  continuously  of  service,  especially  in  edu 
cation,  but  they  have  had  no  perceptible  share  in  creating  the  Awakening. 


6      MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN    INDIA 

they  would  have  led  to  no  awakening.    The  proof  of  all  this 
will  gradually  unfold  itself  in  our  chapters. 

It  was  necessity  that  drove  the  East  India  Company  to  as 
sume  governmental  duties.  They  had  no  desire  to  rule  India, 
far  less  to  reform  the  intellectual,  social  and  religious  life  of 
the  people.  They  were  driven  to  undertake  first  one  and  then 
another  administrative  duty,  because  otherwise  they  could 
not  obtain  that  settled  government  and  those  regular  financial 
arrangements  without  which  profitable  commerce  is  impossible. 
But  every  step  they  took  led  to  another ;  and  gradually  the 
conscience  of  Britain  awoke  and  began  to  demand  that  India 
should  be  governed  for  the  good  of  the  people.  It  was  during 
the  last  decades  of  the  eighteenth  century  that  the  old  trading 
company  was  gradually  hammered  into  something  like  a 
government.  The  men  who  did  the  work  were  Clive,  Hastings 
and  Cornwallis.  A  succession  of  changes  transformed  its 
civil-servant  traders,  whose  incomes  depended  on  their  business 
ability,  into  administrators  living  on  a  salary  and  strictly 
forbidden  to  make  money  by  trading ;  while  the  Government 
itself  steadily  assumed  new  functions,  and  grew  in  knowledge 
of  the  people. 

Protestant  missionary  history  in  India  opens  with  the 

Danish  Mission,  which  did  very  remarkable  work  in    the 

Tamil  country  throughout  the  eighteenth  century;   but  it 

was  the  toil  of  Carey  and  his  colleagues  that  roused  first 

>     Britain  and  then  America  and  the  Continent  to  a  sense  of  their 

l  duty  to  the  non-Christian  peoples  of  the  world.    William 

j  Carey,  an  English  Baptist,  arrived  in  Calcutta  on  the  nth 

\  November,  1793,  and,  after  many  wanderings,  settled  as  an 

indigo-planter  near  Malda  in  North  Bengal.     Here  he  studied 

Bengali  and  Sanskrit,  began  the  work  of  translating  the  Bible 

into  Bengali,  gained  his  experience  and  developed  his  methods. 

In  1800  he  settled  in  Serampore  under  the  Danish  flag ;  and 

in  the  same  year  he  began  to  teach  Sanskrit  and  Bengali  in 


HISTORICAL    OUTLINE    OF    THE    PERIOD  7 

Lord  Wellesley's  College  in  Calcutta.  Then  it  was  not  long 
before  the  wiser  men  both  in  Missions  and  in  the  Government 
began  to  see  that,  for  the  immeasurable  task  to  be  accom 
plished,  it  was  most  necessary  that  Missions  should  take  ad 
vantage  of  the  advancing  policy  of  the  Government  and  that 
Government  should  use  Missions  as  a  civilizing  ally.  For 
the  sake  of  the  progress  of  India  cooperation  was  indispen 
sable. 

The  rise  of  Orientalism  is  contemporaneous  with  the  be 
ginnings  of  good  government  in  North  India  and  with  the 
development  of  the  new  Mission  propaganda,  but  it  did  not 
touch  the  Indian  mind  until  later.1  It  was  Warren  Hastings 
who  took  the  steps  which  led  to  Europeans  becoming  ac 
quainted  with  Sanskrit  and  Hinduism.  By  his  orders  a 
simple  code  of  Hindu  law  was  put  together  and  translated 
into  English  in  1776.  In  1785  Charles  Wilkins,  who  had 
been  roused  to  the  study  of  Sanskrit  by  Hastings,  published 
a  translation  of  the  BhagavadgUa  ;  and  Sir  William  Jones,  the 

1  At  first  sight  it  seems  very  extraordinary  that  our  real  knowledge  of 
India  should  have  begun  so  late.  Europe  has  known  of  India  superficially 
from  time  immemorial ;  and  from  a  very  early  date  Indians  have  had  scraps 
of  information  about  the  West.  Long  centuries  before  the  Christian  era, 
it  seems  certain  that  Solomon  sent  his  navy  from  the  Gulf  of  Akabah  to 
Western  India ;  and  Indian  merchants  sailed  to  the  Persian  Gulf  and  brought 
home  Babylonian  goods  and  ideas.  The  conquest  of  the  Panjab  by  Darius 
the  Persian  brought  a  small  amount  of  knowledge  to  Greece;  and  Alex 
ander's  matchless  raid  led  to  the  establishment  of  direct  communication 
between  India  and  the  Greek  kingdoms.  Roman  traders  carried  on  large 
commerce  with  the  mouths  of  the  Indus,  and  also  with  Southern  India,  in 
the  first  and  second  centuries  A.D.  Occasionally  travellers  from  the  West 
penetrated  to  India  during  the  Middle  Ages;  and  a  great  trade  both  by 
caravan  and  by  sea  went  on  uninterruptedly.  Modern  intercourse  begins 
with  Vasco  da  Gama,  the  famous  Portuguese  explorer,  who  sailed  round 
the  Cape  of  Good  Hope  and  reached  the  coast  of  India  at  Calicut  in  Malabar 
in  1498.  From  that  date  onward,  Portuguese,  Dutch,  French  and  English 
went  to  India  by  sea,  and  a  large  trade  was  carried  on ;  yet  until  the  end  of 
the  eighteenth  century  no  serious  attempt  was  made  to  understand  India 
and  its  civilization. 


8      MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN    INDIA 

first  great  -Sanskritist,  published  in  1789  a  translation  of 
Sakuntala,  the  finest  of  all  Indian  dramas.  Another  Eng 
lishman,  named  Hamilton,  happened  to  be  passing  through 
France  on  his  way  home,  in  1802,  and  was  arrested.  During 
his  long  involuntary  stay  in  Paris  he  taught  Sanskrit  to 
several  French  scholars  and  also  to  the  German  poet,  Fried- 
rich  Schlegel.  Thus  was  the  torch  handed  on  to  Europe. 
The  discovery  of  Sanskrit  led  to  a  revolution  in  the  science 
of  language.  About  the  same  time  English  scholars  began  the 
study  of  the  flora  and  fauna  of  India,  and  also  of  her  people.1 
4.  But,  though  history  has  shown  decisively  that  it  was  the 
British  Government  and  Protestant  Missions  working  to 
gether  that  produced  the  Awakening  of  India,  we  must  note 
carefully  that,  at  the  outset,  the  Government  vehemently 
opposed  Missions.  In  order  to  understand  their  attitude,  we 
must  realize  that  their  only  object  was  trade,  and  that  it  was 
purely  for  the  safeguarding  of  their  trade  that  they  had  inter 
fered  with  the  politics  of  the  land.  In  consequence,  they  re 
garded  themselves  as  in  every  sense  the  successors  of  the  old 
rulers  and  heirs  to  their  policy  and  method,  except  in  so  far 
as  it  was  necessary  to  alter  things  for  the  sake  of  trade.  There 
was  another  point.  They  had  won  their  territory  by  means  of 
an  Indian  army  composed  mainly  of  high-caste  Hindus,  who 
were  exceedingly  strict  in  keeping  all  the  rules  of  caste  and  of 

1  We  ought  also  to  mention  the  wonderful  work  done  by  two  Frenchmen. 
Anquetil  du  Perron  went  to  India  and  ultimately  prevailed  upon  the  Parsee 
priests  to  teach  him  the  language  of  the  Avesta.  He  brought  his  Mss.  and 
his  knowledge  to  Europe  in  1771,  and  thus  became  the  pioneer  of  Zoroastrian 
research  in  the  West.  Four  years  later  he  translated  into  Latin  a  Persian 
version  of  a  number  of  the  Upanishads,  produced  under  the  orders  of  a 
Mughal  Prince  in  the  seventeenth  century.  It  was  through  his  almost 
incomprehensible  Latin  that  Schopenhauer  received  his  knowledge  of  the 
Vedanta  philosophy.  L'Abbe  Dubois,  a  Catholic  missionary  who  lived 
and  wandered  in  the  Tamil  country  from  1792  to  1823  wrote  Hindu  Manners, 
Customs  and  Ceremonies,  one  of  the  most  vivid  and  reliable  descriptions  of 
a  people  that  has  ever  been  penned. 


HISTORICAL    OUTLINE    OF    THE    PERIOD  9 

religious  practice.  Further,  every  competent  observer  was 
deeply  impressed  with  the  extraordinary  hold  Hinduism  had 
upon  the  people.  Every  element  of  life  was  controlled  by  it.1 
In  consequence,  the  Government  believed  it  to  be  necessary, 
for  the  stability  of  their  position,  not  merely  to  recognize  the 
religions  of  the  people  of  India,  but  to  support  and  patronize 
them  as  fully  as  the  native  rulers  had  done,  and  to  protect 
their  soldiers  from  any  attempt  to  make  them  Christians. 
Accordingly,  they  adopted  three  lines  of  policy  from  which, 
for  a  long  time,  they  stubbornly  refused  to  move : 2 

a.  They  took  under  their  management  and  patronage  a 
large  number  of  Hindu  temples.  They  advanced  money  for 
rebuilding  important  shrines  and  for  repairing  others,  and 
paid  the  salaries  of  the  temple  officials,  even  down  to  the  cour 
tesans,  which  were  a  normal  feature  of  the  great  temples  of 
the  South.3  They  granted  large  sums  of  money  for  sacrifices 
and  festivals  and  for  the  feeding  of  Brahmans.  Salvoes  of 
cannon  were  fired  on  the  occasion  of  the  greater  festivals ; 
and  government  officials  were  ordered  to  be  present  and  to 
show  their  interest  in  the  celebrations.  Even  cruel  and  im 
moral  rites,  such  as  hook-swinging,  practised  in  the  worship 
of  the  gods,  and  the  burning  of  widows,  were  carried  out  under 
British  supervision.  In  order  to  pay  for  all  these  things,  a 
pilgrim- tax  was  imposed,  which  not  only  recouped  the  Govern 
ment  for  their  outlay,  but  brought  them  a  handsome  income 
as  well.  Reformers  in  England  and  India  found  it  a  long  and 
toilsome  business  to  get  this  patronage  of  idolatry  by  a  Chris 
tian  Government  put  down.  The  last  temple  was  handed 
over  as  late  as  1862. 

1  During  the  many  years  that  I  studied  Hindu  customs  I  cannot  say  that 
I  ever  observed  a  single  one,  however  unimportant  and  simple,  and,  I  may 
add,  however  filthy  and  disgusting,  which  did  not  rest  on  some  religious 
principle  or  other.     Dubois,  p.  31. 

2  Richter,  185-192. 

3  See  below,  pp.  408-9. 


io     MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN    INDIA 

b.  They  absolutely  refused  to  allow  any  missionary  to  settle 
in  their  territory.     Carey  got  a  footing  in  Bengal  by  becoming 
an  indigo-planter ;  and  he  was  not  able  to  devote  his  whole 
time  and  energy  to  Christian  work,  until  he  settled  at  Seram- 
pore,  twelve  miles  north  of  Calcutta,  under  the  Danish  flag. 
Many  missionaries,  both  British  and  American,  landed  in 
India,  only  to  be  deported  by  the  authorities.    This  policy 
was  reversed  by  Act  of  Parliament  in  1813. 

c.  They  refused  to  employ  native  Christians  in  any  capacity, 
and  they  enforced  all  the  rigours  of  Hindu  law  against  them. 
In  the  Bengal  army,  if  any  native  soldier  wished  to  become  a 
Christian,  he  was  forcibly  prevented  by  the  authorities ;  or, 
if  by  any  chance  he  became  baptized,  he  was  expelled  from  the 
service.    This  fierce  prejudice  was  so  strong  even  at  the  time 
of  the  Mutiny  that  the  services  of  thousands  of  Indian  Chris 
tians  were  refused  by  the  Government. 

Yet  from  quite  an  early  date  there  was  a  certain  amount  of 
collaboration  between  the  Government  and  Missions.  When 
Lord  Wellesley  founded,  in  1800,  the  College  of  Fort  William 
in  Calcutta,  to  give  his  young  Indian  Civilians  a  training  in 
Indian  languages  and  literature,  Carey  was  the  only  man  who 
could  be  found  to  teach  Sanskrit  and  Bengali.  He  was 
accordingly  appointed  Professor ;  and  for  many  years,  though 
his  chief  work  was  in  Serampore,  he  spent  one-half  of  each 
week  in  Calcutta,  lecturing  to  Indian  Civilians  in  the  morning, 
and  preaching  to  the  poor  in  the  evening.  Government  also 
took  advantage  of  the  Mission  Printing  Press  at  Serampore, 
where,  for  the  first  time  in  history,  Indian  languages  were 
printed  in  their  own  script ;  and  they  departed  in  one  instance 
from  their  strict  rule  of  deporting  every  missionary  landing 
in  India,  because  the  new  man  was  a  skilled  type-founder, 
and  was  about  to  cut,  for  the  mission,  Chinese  type  which  the 
Government  would  be  glad  to  use.  At  a  later  date  the  great 
problem  of  education  drew  the  Government  and  Missions 
together. 


HISTORICAL    OUTLINE    OF    THE    PERIOD          n 

The  present  wise  policy  of  absolute  religious  neutrality 
was  not  reached  until  1857,  when,  in  the  throes  of  the  Mutiny, 
the  East  India  Company  came  to  an  end,  and  the  home  Gov 
ernment  became  directly  responsible  for  India.  Since  that 
moment,  though  many  individual  government  officers,  both 
civil  and  military,  have  misinterpreted  British  neutrality  to 
mean  what  it  certainly  meant  under  the  Company,  namely, 
favour  to  the  old  religions  and  opposition  to  Christian  work, 
yet  the  attitude  of  Government  as  such  has  been  right.  Every 
Christian  to-day  ought  to  rejoice  that  the  policy  of  strict 
neutrality  was  adopted  when  India  came  under  the  Crown. 
Some  people  wished  the  Government  to  take  a  definite 
stand  in  favour  of  Christianity  and  to  use  its  money  and  in 
fluence  for  the  bringing  of  India  into  the  Church ;  but  it  is 
as  clear  as  noonday  that  that  could  have  brought  only  disas 
ter  to  the  cause  of  Christ.  No  government  can  ever  do  the 
work  of  the  Church ;  the  government  official  as  such  cannot 
be  an  Apostle. 

5.  This  discussion  will  enable  us  to  sympathize  with  a  num 
ber  of  ideas  which  have  been  influential  in  certain  sections  of 
Anglo-Indian  society  for  a  hundred  and  fifty  years,  and  are 
still  held  by  some.  We  can  see  how  it  is  that  men  in  business 
and  in  government  have  come  to  believe  that  we  had  better 
not  touch  the  religion  and  civilization  of  India,  that  it  is  im 
possible  to  alter  them,  or  to  produce  any  lasting  influence  on 
Indian  thought,  and  that  every  attempt  to  introduce  change 
is  bad  for  the  people,  on  the  one  hand,  and  a  grave  danger 
to  British  trade  and  government,  on  the  other. 

It  is  well  to  notice  that  from  time  to  time  men  of  scholar 
ship  and  character  have  held  to  the  old  policy  and  ideas  in 
these  matters.  Horace  Hayman  Wilson,  the  famous  Sanskrit 
scholar,  was  opposed  to  Bentinck's  abolition  of  sati,1  and 
seriously  believed  that  it  would  cause  the  Government  grave 

1  Below,  p.  17. 


12     MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN    INDIA 

difficulty.1  As  a  matter  of  fact,  Bentinck's  judgment  was 
justified.  No  difficulty  of  any  kind  arose.  Many  noteworthy 
persons,  and  masses  of  business  men  throughout  the  nine 
teenth  century  have  been  opposed  to  educating  the  Indian. 
Lord  Ellenborough,  when  Governor- General, 

regarded  the  political  ruin  of  the  English  power  as  the  inevitable 
consequence  of  the  education  of  the  Hindus.2 

Many  a  business  man  in  Calcutta  echoes  this  belief  to-day, 
but  no  serious  statesman  holds  such  an  opinion.  Here  is  how 
the  attitude  of  the  people  of  Calcutta  to  missions  was  described 
in  1812  : 

All  were  convinced  that  rebellion,  civil  war,  and  universal 
unrest  would  certainly  accompany  every  attempt  to  promote 
missionary  enterprise,  and,  above  all,  that  the  conversion  of  a 
high-caste  native  soldier  would  inevitably  mean  the  disbanding 
of  the  army  and  the  overthrow  of  British  rule  in  India.3 

Gradually  the  policy  of  Government  was  brought  into  conso 
nance  with  the  political  and  religious  convictions  of  the  people 
of  Britain ;  yet,  in  circles  little  touched  by  Christian  enthu 
siasm  and  democratic  feeling,  the  old  ideas  still  persist,  and 
find  frequent  expression  in  conversation  and  public  addresses, 
in  articles  and  books. 

Probably  no  thinking  man  to-day  believes  that  Western 
influence  is  producing  no  serious  effect  on  the  Indian  mind ; 
yet  we  must  not  forget  that  one  of  the  greatest  publicists  who 
ever  lived  and  wrote  in  India,  Meredith  Townsend,  held, 
throughout  a  long  life,  that  all  the  efforts  of  Britain  to  modify 
Indian  thought  and  behaviour  were  absolutely  hopeless. 
Here  are  two  brief  quotations  from  his  volume  of  Essays, 
Asia  and  Europe: 

1  Compare  also  Ram  Mohan  Ray's  attitude.     See  below,  p.  33  n. 

2  Richter,  183.  3  76.,  131. 


HISTORICAL    OUTLINE    OF    THE    PERIOD          13 

All  the  papers  are  directed  to  one  end,  a  description  of  those 
inherent  differences  between  Europe  and  Asia  which  forbid 
one  continent  permanently  to  conquer  the  other.  ...  It  is 
rather  a  saddening  reflection  that  the  thoughts  of  so  many 
years  are  all  summed  up  by  a  great  poet  in  four  lines : 

"  The  East  bowed  low  before  the  blast, 

In  patient  deep  disdain ; 
She  let  the  legions  thunder  past, 
Then  plunged  in  thought  again."1 

As  yet  there  is  no  sign  that  the  British  are  accomplishing 
more  than  the  Romans  accomplished  in  Britain,  that  they  will 
spread  any  permanently  successful  ideas,  or  that  they  will  found 
anything  whatever.  It  is  still  true  that  if  they  departed  or 
were  driven  out  they  would  leave  behind  them,  as  the  Romans 
did  in  Britain,  splendid  roads,  many  useless  buildings,  an  in 
creased  weakness  in  the  subject  people,  and  a  memory  which  in 
a  century  of  new  events  would  be  extinct.2 

Dubois  held  similar  opinions : 

I  venture  to  predict  that  it  (i.e.  the  British  Government) 
will  attempt  in  vain  to  effect  any  very  considerable  changes  in 
the  social  condition  of  the  people  of  India,  whose  character, 
principles,  customs  and  ineradicable  conservatism  will  always 
present  insurmountable  obstacles.3 

It  is  necessary,  for  the  understanding  of  the  history  of  the 
nineteenth  century,  to  realize  how  influential  these  ideas  were 
for  many  years,  though  they  begin  to  seem  rather  old-world 
and  bloodless  in  the  light  of  the  Awakening,  and  especially 
of  the  religious  upheaval  we  have  to  deal  with. 

LITERATURE.  —  The  Rise  and  Expansion  of  the  British  Dominion  in 
India,  by  Sir  Alfred  Lyall,  London,  Murray,  1894.  Hindu  Manners, 
Customs  and  Ceremonies,  by  J.  A.  Dubois,  Oxford,  Clarendon  Press. 
A  History  of  Missions  in  India,  by  Julius  Richter,  London,  Oliphant. 
Asia  and  Europe,  by  Meredith  Townsend. 

We  shall  divide  the  period  of  one  hundred  and  thirteen 
years  with  which  we  deal  into  four  sections. 

^.xxi.  2P.  27.  *  p. 


14     MODERN   RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS   IN   INDIA 

FIRST  SECTION  :  1800-1828 

1.  In  this  year  1800,  from  which  we  date  the  effective  inter- 
penetration  of  India  by  the  West,  a  large  part  of  the  country 
was  already  under  British  rule,  and  Lord  Wellesley  was  busy 
bringing  the  independent  native  princes  within  the  scope  of  the 
empire  by  means  of  peaceful  treaties.     His  policy  proved  very 
successful,  and  extended  the, empire  far  and  wide.     In  the  wars 
which  arose  his  brother,  later  known  as  the  Duke  of  Welling 
ton,  played  a  great  part.     His  policy  may  be  said  to  have  com 
pleted  itself  in  1849,  when  the  last  remaining  portion  of  India 
proper  was  added  to  the  empire. 

2.  We  have  already  seen  that  Carey,  his  apprenticeship  over, 
had  settled  under  the  Danish  flag  at  Serampore  in  1800  and 
had  at  once  become  a  Government  professor  in  Calcutta.     He 
gave  a  great  deal  of  time  to  the  translation  of  the  Bible  into 
the  vernaculars  of  India  and  even  into  the  languages  of  coun 
tries  outside  India ;  but  it  was  chiefly  by  the  winning  of  actual 
converts  from  Hinduism,  by  his  schools,  newspapers  and 
literature,  that  he  was  able  to  bring  Christian  thought  effec 
tively  to  bear  on  the  Indian  spirit.     But  it  would  have  been 
impossible  for  him  to  make  his  work  varied  and  effective  had 
it  not  been  for  his  two  great  colleagues,  Marshman  and  Ward. 
Carey  had  been  a  cobbler,  Marshman  a  Ragged-School  teacher 
and  Ward  a  printer.    They  were  all  largely  self-taught.    They 
differed  greatly  from  each  other,  but  differed  in  such  a  way  as 
to  supplement  one  another.    Their  methods  of  work  were 
partly  those  which  had  been  developed  by  Danish  missionaries 
in  South  India  in  the  eighteenth  century,  partly  new.    The 
basis  of  all  their  work  was  preaching  and  translation  of  the 
Bible.    To  this  they  added  the  publication  of  literature  of 
many  types,  and  very  effective  journalism.    They  had  a  print 
ing  press,  and  in  it  Indian  type  was  first  founded  and  used. 
They  laid  great  stress  on  education,  and  opened  numerous 


HISTORICAL    OUTLINE    OF    THE    PERIOD          15 

schools  around  them  for  both  boys  and  girls.  They  opened 
boarding-schools  and  orphanages.  They  even  attempted 
medical  work,  and  did  not  neglect  the  lepers.  They  were  most 
eager  to  send  out  native  missionaries  to  preach  throughout 
the  country,  and  with  that  in  view  built  a  great  college  at 
Serampore,  and  received  from  the  King  of  Denmark  author 
ity  to  confer  degrees.  Their  study  of  Hinduism  and  the 
Hindu  community  convinced  them  that,  for  the  health  of  the 
people,  many  social  and  religious  reforms  were  necessary, 
for  example,  the  total  abolition  of  caste,  the  prohibition  of 
widow-burning,  of  child-marriage,  of  polygamy  and  of  infan 
ticide,  the  granting  to  widows  of  the  right  to  remarry,  the 
prohibition  of  human  sacrifice,  of  the  torturing  of  animals  in 
sacrifice,  of  human  torture  in  worship,  and  of  the  gross  ob 
scenity  practised  in  the  streets.  They  took  great  care  that 
caste  should  be  utterly  excluded  from  the  Church  of  Christ. 

In  1813,  when  it  was  necessary  to  renew  the  Charter  of  the 
East  India  Company,  Parliament  insisted,  in  spite  of  the  oppo 
sition  of  the  Directors  of  the  Company,  on  inserting  a  clause 
in  the  Charter,  giving  missionaries  full  freedom  to  settle  and 
work  in  India.  There  can  be  no  question  that  this  was  largely 
a  result  of  the  wonderful  work  done  at  Serampore.  Soon 
afterwards  there  was  a  great  influx  of  missionaries  into  the 
country. 

During  these  years  a  number  of  individual  Europeans  did 
what  they  could  to  start  Western  education^in  the  great  cities 
of  India  apart  from  missionary  associations.  David  Hare, 
a  Scotch  watchmaker,  was  the  pioneer  of  English  studies 
among  boys  in  Calcutta ;  and  a  Civil  Servant,  Mr.  Drinkwater 
Bethune,  succeeded  in  starting  a  school  for  Hindu  girls  in  the 
same  city.  The  Hon'ble  Mr.  Mountstuart  Elphinstone 
led  both  the  Hindu  and  the  Parsee  community  in  Bombay 
to  modern  education.  His  name  is  perpetuated  in  the 
Government  College  of  that  city. 


16     MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN    INDIA 

3.  Three  men  stand  out  as  pioneer  Orientalists  during  these 
years,  the  great  Colebrooke,  to  whom  almost  every  aspect  of 
Sanskrit  and  Hindu  study  runs  back,  H.  H.  Wilson,  who  pub 
lished  a  number  of  very  useful  works,  and  Tod,  a  military 
officer,  who  studied  the  poetry,  traditions  and  customs  of  the 
Rajputs  so  thoroughly  that  his  Rdjasthdn  is  to  this  day  the 
greatest  and  most  beautiful  work  upon  that  people  and  their 
country. 

4.  But  for  our  subject  the  most  interesting  name  is  that 
of  Ram  Mohan  Ray,  the  founder  of   the  Brahma  Samaj. 
We  shall  deal  with  his  work  in  our  next  chapter.    Here  we 
note  simply  that  the  years  from  1800  to  1828  were  the  years 
that  formed  him,  and  that  while  he  was  influenced  by 
Hinduism,  Islam  and  Buddhism,  the  forces  which  proved 
creative  in  him  were  unquestionably  Christianity  and  the 
influence  of  the  West  in  general.     During  these  years  he 
published  almost  all  his  books  and  conducted  a  vigorous 
agitation  in  Calcutta  against  widow-burning,  which  proved 
of  great  practical  value. 

No  fresh  religious  movement  worthy  of  notice  appeared 
during  these  years. 

LITERATURE.  —  Lyall,  as  above.  Marshman's  History  of  India. 
Wellesley  and  Hastings  in  Rulers  of  India  Series,  Oxford  University 
Press.  Life  of  William  Carey,  by  George  Smith,  in  Everyman's 
Library.  Carey,  Marshman  and  Ward,  by  George  Smith.  For  the 
rise  of  Orientalism  see  Macdonell's  Sanskrit  Literature,  chap.  I. 

SECOND  SECTION  :  1828-1870 

i.  The  British  Empire  in  India  continued  to  expand  during 
these  years  until  it  covered  the  whole  of  India.  The  last 
portion  to  be  added,  namely  the  Pan  jab,  was  annexed  in  1849, 
at  the  conclusion  of  the  second  Sikh  war. 

The  Mutiny  of  1857-1858  extends  across  the  middle  of  our 
period  like  a  dark  bar,  but  we  need  not,  in  this  brief  historical 


HISTORICAL    OUTLINE    OF    THE    PERIOD          17 

outline,  attempt  to  deal  with  it.  It  was  essentially  a  reaction, 
a  natural  and  almost  inevitable  result  of  the  rapid  conquest 
of  the  country  and  of  the  numerous  reforms  imposed  on  a  most 
conservative  people.  So  far  from  checking  the  process  of  the 
building  up  of  the  empire,  the  Mutiny,  in  the  long  run,  pro 
duced  most  beneficial  results ;  for  the  Crown  became  directly 
responsible  for  India ;  and  both  policy  and  method  were  clari 
fied  and  simplified,  to  the  immeasurable  benefit  of  India. 

Apart  from  the  completion  of  the  empire,  the  whole  activity 
of  the  Government  throughout  this  section  might  be  de 
scribed  as  one  long  programme  of  reform ;  and  this  aspect  of 
its  work  is  of  more  importance  for  our  subject  than  the  exten 
sion  of  the  frontiers  and  the  wars  that  shook  down  the  old 
rulers.  We  take  the  beginning  of  the  Governor- Generalship 
of  Lord  William  Bentinck  as  the  date  of  the  opening  of  this 
section  of  our  period,  because  he  initiated  the  policy  of  reform, 
and  began  to  apply  in  serious  earnest  the  conviction,  which 
had  taken  hold  of  the  best  minds  at  home,  that  Britain  must 
govern  India  for  the  good  of  India.  The  reforms  which  he 
introduced  may  be  best  understood  if  we  take  them  in  three 
groups. 

The  first  group  consists  of  a  list  of  cruel  practices  which 
had  long  been  customary  in  India,  and  were  closely  con 
nected  with  the  religious  life  of  the  people.  The  principle 
on  which  the  government  decided  to  interfere  with  these  re 
ligious  customs  is  this,  that  to  interfere  with  religion  as  such  is 
beyond  the  province  of  rulers,  but  to  prohibit  customs  which 
are  grossly  immoral  and  revolting  to  humanity  is  a  most  serious 
duty,  even  though  these  customs,  through  superstition  and 
long  tradition,  have  come  to  be  regarded  as  most  sacred. 
The  chief  of  these  customs  prohibited  were  soft,  the  burning  of 
a  widow  along  with  her  husband's  body,  thagl,1  the  strangling 
and  robbery  of  travellers,  female  infanticide  and  human  sacrifice. 

1  See  below,  p.  425  n. 


i8     MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN    INDIA 

The  second  group  of  reforms  comes  under  the  head  of  the 
recognition  of  human  equality.  It  was  decided  that  no 
native  of  India  should  suffer  in  any  way  because  of  his  reli 
gious  opinions,  but  that  all  should  be  absolutely  equal  before 
the  law.  The  same  idea  found  practical  expression  in  the 
largely  extended  employment  of  Indians  in  Government  ser 
vice  ;  but  the  reason  the  Directors  had  for  asking  Lord  Wil 
liam  to  initiate  the  reform  was  the  necessity  of  economy. 

The  third  set  of  reforms  gathers  round  the  English  language. 
For  years  there  had  been  a  serious  controversy  among  gov 
ernment  officials  as  to  whether  Government  should  support 
Oriental  or  Western  education.  The  great  success  of  Duff's 
work  in  Calcutta,  which  we  shall  notice  below,  and  the  power 
ful  advocacy  of  Macaulay,  who  was  Legal  Member  of 
Council  under  Lord  Bentinck,  enabled  the  Governor-General 
to  decide  in  favour  of  modern  education.  The  English  lan 
guage  became  the  official  tongue  of  the  empire,  and  the 
vehicle  of  instruction  in  all  higher  education.  No  more 
momentous  decision  was  ever  taken  at  the  Indian  Coun 
cil  Board.  The  working  out  of  a  new  policy  in  education  was 
necessarily  left  to  Lord  Bentinck's  successors.  Government 
schools  and  colleges  grew  and  multiplied ;  medical  education 
was  introduced;  vernacular  education  was  not  neglected; 
and,  in  the  midst  of  the  throes  of  the  Mutiny,  the  new  system 
was  crowned  by  the  establishment  of  universities  at  Calcutta, 
Bombay  and  Madras. 

The  results  produced  by  English  education  in  India  are 
revolutionary  in  the  highest  degree.  The  following  pages  will 
give  much  evidence  of  the  extraordinary  changes  in  progress ; 
but,  so  far  as  one  can  see,  we  have  not  nearly  reached  the  end 
of  the  evolution ;  and  no  man  can  foretell  what  the  ultimate 
result  will  be. 

Other  reforms  of  considerable  magnitude  followed.  In 
1843  an  act  was  passed  to  render  slavery  in  India  illegal ; 


HISTORICAL    OUTLINE    OF    THE    PERIOD          19 

and,  in  consequence,  during  the  following  years  vast 
numbers  of  people  who  had  been  born  and  brought  up  in 
slavery  gradually  acquired  liberty.  Lord  Dalhousie  (1848- 
1856)  introduced  many  reforms  into  the  administration. 
His  acts  led  to  great  improvements  in  the  life  and  pros 
perity  of  the  people  throughout  the  vast  empire.  Amongst 
these  was  a  law  prohibiting  certain  gross  obscenities  which 
hitherto  had  been  common  in  the  streets  of  Indian  cities. 
A  clause  had  to  be  inserted  excluding  the  temples,  images 
and  cars  of  Hindu  gods  from  the  operation  of  the  law. 

But  the  most  far-reaching  and  precious  reform  of  this  sec 
tion  of  history  was  the  assumption  of  the  government  of  India 
by  the  Crown.  Every  part  of  the  service  was  quickened,  puri 
fied  and  invigorated  under  the  new  system. 

2.  In  Missions  these  decades  are  marked  chiefly  by  great 
activity  in  education,  especially  in  English  education,  and  by 
a  brilliant  development  of  missionary  method  in  many  direc 
tions.  The  number  of  missionaries  engaged  in  the  Empire 
increased  very  greatly  during  those  years ;  and  the  area 
covered  by  missions  expanded  with  the  Empire. 

In  1830  a  young  Scotch  missionary  named  Alexander  Duff 
arrived  in  Calcutta.  He  decided  to  open  a  school  for  the 
teaching  of  English,  believing  that  nothing  would  do  so  much 
for  the  opening  of  the  Hindu  mind  as  intercourse  with  the 
spirit  of  the  West  through  the  medium  of  the  English  language. 
Ram  Mohan  Ray  obtained  rooms  for  him  in  which  to  start  his 
school  and  brought  him  some  of  his  earliest  pupils.  His  work 
rested  on  two  convictions.  The  first  of  these  was  this,  that 
the  highest  form  of  education  is  Christian  education,  namely, 
a  thoroughly  sound  intellectual  and  scientific  training,  built 
on  the  moral  and  religious  principles  of  Christ.  To  him  the 
teaching  of  the  Bible  was  the  most  essential  element  in  the  edu 
cation  he  gave.  Apart  from  that,  mere  intellectual  drill  might 
do  more  harm  than  good.  His  second  conviction  was  that  a 


20     MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN    INDIA 

modern  education  could  be  given  to  the  Indian  only  through 
the  medium  of  English,  because  their  own  vernaculars  did  not 
contain  the  books  necessary  for  a  modern  education.  His 
work  opened  a  new  missionary  era  in  India.  His  school  be 
came  extraordinarily  popular ;  all  the  most  promising  young 
men  of  the  city  flocked  to  him ;  and  the  results  of  his  teach 
ing  were  very  remarkable.  Western  thought  caused  a  great 
ferment  in  their  minds,  breaking  down  the  old  ideas  with 
great  rapidity ;  and  the  daily  Scripture  lesson  filled  them  with 
Christian  thought.  Soon  a  stream  of  fine  young  fellows 
began  to  pass  out  of  Hinduism  into  the  Christian  Church, 
and  Duff's  work  and  Christianity  became  the  most  absorbing 
topic  of  conversation  throughout  the  Hindu  community. 
Dr.  John  Wilson  started  similar  work  in  Bombay  and  John 
Anderson  in  Madras.  These  were  followed  by  other  mission 
aries  in  other  centres. 

During  these  decades  the  Christian  education  of  girls  was 
pushed  rapidly  forward,  and  its  methods  well  worked  out.  It 
was  the  desire  to  spread  girls'  schools  far  and  wide  that  led  to 
the  rapid  increase  of  women  missionaries  and  finally  to  a  great 
influx  of  unmarried  lady  missionaries.  Further  contact 
with  the  people  showed  the  piteous  needs  of  the  women  of 
the  upper  classes  shut  up  in  zenanas ;  and  consequently  from 
about  1854  there  was  developed  a  new  method  of  missionary 
service,  the  visitation  of  zenanas  by  women  missionaries  and 
their  assistants.  It  was  during  this  section  of  our  period 
also  that  medical  missions  took  shape.  During  all  the  pre 
vious  years  a  little  medical  help  had  been  given  at  various 
points;  but  now  the  Christian  conscience  of  Europe  and 
America  was  stirred  to  bring  medical  help  to  the  millions 
of  the  common  people  of  India,  for  whom  no  skilled  assistance 
in  the  time  of  trouble  and  death  was  available.  Gradually 
the  idea  took  shape,  and  produced  the  Medical  Mission,  i.e. 
a  Christian  medical  man,  sent  out  to  heal  and  to  preach,  well 


HISTORICAL    OUTLINE    OF    THE    PERIOD          21 

equipped  with  knowledge,  with  medicine  and  with  surgical 
implements,  and  backed  also  with  a  dispensary,  hospital  and 
assistants.  Here  again  the  sufferings  of  the  women  of  India 
led  to  something  new.  Men  could  not  enter  the  zenanas,  and 
yet  in  them  much  of  the  tragedy  of  Hindu  pain  and  death 
took  place.  Such  was  the  origin  of  the  woman  medical  mis 
sionary,  one  of  the  most  precious  forms  of  help  ever  sent  to 
India.  Orphanages,  widows'  homes  and  famine  relief  were 
all  used  to  some  extent  during  these  years,  but  their  full  de 
velopment  comes  later. 

3.  The  years  1828-1870  saw  the  flowering  of  Oriental 
scholarship.  Hodgson  discovered  the  literature  of  Northern 
Buddhism  during  his  residence  in  Nepal  from  1833-1844. 
Roth  published  his  epoch-making  treatise  on  The  Literature 
and  the  History  of  the  Veda  in  1846,  and,  in  collaboration  with 
Bohtlingk,  began  the  issue  of  the  great  Petersburg  Lexicon 
in  1852.  Max  Miiller's  Text  of  the  Rigveda  was  issued  between 
1849  and  1875.  Meantime  Prinsep  and  Cunningham  laid 
the  foundations  of  our  knowledge  of  Indian  art,  epigraphy  and  y 
archaeology.  Even  at  this  date  the  work  of  Oriental  scholars  (j 
did  not  influence  the  Indian  mind  seriously. 

4..  The  new  educational  policy  of  the  Government  created 
during  these  years  Ijae  modern  educated  class  of  India.  These 
are  men  who  think  and  speak  in  English  habitually,  who  are 
proud  of  their  citizenship  in  the  British  Empire,  who  are  de 
voted  to  English  literature,  and  whose  intellectual  life  has 
been  almost  entirely  formed  by  the  thought  of  the  West. 
Large  numbers  of  them  enter  government  service,  while  the 
rest  practise  law,  medicine  or  teaching,  or  take  to  journalism 
or  business.  We  must  also  note  that  the  powerful  excitement 
which  has  sufficed  to  create  the  religious  movements  we  have 
to  deal  with  is  almost  entirely  confined  to  those  who  have  • 
had  an  English  education. 

It  was  in  Bengal  and  Bombay  that  the  results  of  the  new 


22     MODERN    RELIGIOUS   MOVEMENTS   IN   INDIA 

policy  became  first  conspicuous.  The  Bengalis  in  the  East 
and  the  Parsees  and  Marathas  in  the  West  took  very  eagerly 
to  English  education.  Madras  followed,  and  took  quite  as 
much  advantage  of  the  new  situation.  The  Muhammadans 
on  the  whole  held  back,  but  one  prominent  man,  Sir  Syed 
Ahmad  Khan,  was  far-sighted  enough  to  see  the  folly  of 
this  attitude  and  did  all  he  could  to  bring  his  people  into 
line. 

5.  We  have  already  noticed  Ram  Mohan  Ray's  activity  as 
a  writer  and  social  reformer.  His  greatest  achievement  coin 
cides  with  the  opening  year  of  this  section  of  our  period.  In 
1828  he  founded  the  Brahma  Samaj,  a  theistic  society,  opposed 
to  polytheism,  mythology  and  idolatry,  the  first  and  most 
influential  of  all  the  religious  movements  we  have  to  deal  with. 
But,  eighteen  months  after  it  was  founded,  he  sailed  for  Eng 
land  and  never  returned.  The  new  society  would  have  died, 
had  it  not  been  for  the  financial  support  of  one  of  his  friends, 
Prince  Dwarka  Nath  Tagore.  In  1842  Debendra  Nath  Ta- 
gore,  the  youthful  son  of  Rama  Mohan  Ray's  friend,  entered 
the  Samaj,  and  soon  became  recognized  as  its  leader.  A  new 
period  of  growth  and  fruitful  labour  followed.  For  nearly 
twenty  years  longer  the  Brahma  Samaj  continued  to  be  the 
most  prominent  indigenous  religious  movement.  Just  after 
the  Mutiny  a  young  Bengali,  named  Keshab  Chandra  Sen, 
became  a  member,  and  soon  displayed  remarkable  powers. 
He  led  the  little  community  into  social  reform,  philanthropy 
and  also,  in  some  degree,  into  discipleship  to  Christ. 

From  the  Brahma  Samaj  there  sprang  in  1867  a  kindred 
organization  in  Bombay,  known  as  the  Prarthana  Samaj.  Its 
most  prominent  leaders  belong  to  a  later  day.  The  Parsees 
of  Bombay  were  busy  at  the  same  time  with  educational  and 
social  reform,  but  no  organization  sprang  up  among  them. 

We  ought  also  to  notice  that  in  1856,  largely  as  a  result  of 
the  agitation  of  a  Calcutta  Brahman,  Pandit  Isvara  Chandra 


HISTORICAL    OUTLINE    OF    THE    PERIOD  23 

Vidyasagara,  the  Government  passed  a  law  legalizing  the  re 
marriage  of  Hindu  widows. 

Sir  Syed  Ahmad  Khan,  whose  influence  on  the  Muhamma- 
dan  community  we  have  already  noted,  was  an  eager  social 
and  religious  reformer,  but  his  most  notable  achievement  was 
the  foundation  of  the  Muhammadan  College  at  Aligarh, 
which  has  done  a  great  deal  to  rouse  the  Muhammadans  of 
North  India  to  accept  modern  thought  and  to  take  their 
rightful  place  in  government  and  education  in  these  modern 
days. 

LITERATURE.  —  Lyall,  as  above.  India  under  Victoria,  by  L.  J. 
Trotter,  London,  Allen,  1886,  2  vols.  Bentinck,  Dalhousie  and 
Canning  in  Rulers  of  India  Series.  Trevelyan's  Life  of  Macaulay. 
The  Administration  of  the  East  India  Company,  by  J.  W.  Kaye, 
London,  Bentley,  1853  (describes  the  great  reforms).  The  Suppres 
sion  of  Human  Sacrifice,  Suttee  and  Female  Infanticide,  Madras, 
C.  L.  S.  I.,  1898,  two  and  a  half  annas  (abridged  from  Kaye). 
Richter's  History  of  Missions  in  India;  and  George  Smith's  Lives  of 
Duff  and  Wilson. 

THIRD  SECTION:  1870-1895 

i.  Continuous  progress  in  the  adaptation  of  British  admin 
istration  to  the  needs  of  India  may  be  said  to  sum  up  the  policy 
and  the  work  of  the  government  during  those  thirty  years. 
A  few  points  ought  to  be  definitely  mentioned.  Perhaps  the 
greatest  social  advance  made  by  Government  has  been  the 
elaboration  of  the  Famine  Code,  whereby  provision  is  made 
from  year  to  year  for  the  possible  arrival  of  serious  famine. 
Elaborate  instructions,  the  reasoned  outcome  of  very  wide 
and  very  varied  experience,  are  also  laid  down  for  the  guid 
ance  of  officers  who  have  to  deal  with  famine  conditions.  A 
Local  Self-government  Bill  was  passed  by  Lord  Ripon's 
Government  with  the  definite  purpose  of  educating  the 
people  in  self-government.  Good  has  certainly  resulted 


24     MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN    INDIA 

from  it  but  not  quite  so  much  as  was  looked  for.  The  only 
other  act  which  we  need  notice  is  the  Age  of  Consent  Act, 
passed  in  1891,  which  prohibits  a  husband  from  living  with 
his  wife  before  she  reaches  the  age  of  twelve. 

2.  From  the  very  birth  of  missionary  work  in  India  there 
had  been  devoted  men  who  had  given  their  lives  to  toil  amongst 
the  Outcastes,  but  for  a  long  time  comparatively  little  fruit 
appeared.  From  1876  to  1879  the  South  of  India  suffered 
from  an  appalling  famine.  Everywhere  missionaries  threw 
themselves  into  the  work  of  saving  life  and  alleviating  dis 
tress  ;  and  this  piece  of  disinterested  service  brought  its  re 
ward.  From  1880  onwards  great  masses  of  the  Qutcastes^  of 
South  India  passed  into  the  Church  of  Christ.  The  movement 
has  since  spread  to  the  North.  It  has  proved  the  most 
signal  of  all  the  object-lessons  given  to  India  by  Christians. 

Women's  work  for  women,  and  medical  work,  both  of  which 
took  shape,  as  we  have  seen,  before  1870,  have  become  greatly 
expanded  and  still  further  improved  in  method  since  then. 
These  years  have  also  seen  the  organization  of  systematic 
Christian  work  for  lepers.  Numerous  hospitals  have  been 
built  for  them ;  and  in  many  places  badly  managed  shelters 
have  been  brought  under  Christian  care,  and  are  now  doing 
wonderful  work.  A  large  proportion  of  the  lepers  cared  for 
by  Christians  become  Christians. 

The  rapid  spread  of  English  education  has  produced  a  very 
large  student  class,,  studying  in  three  different  types  of  institu 
tions,  government,  missionary  and  native  schools  and  colleges. 
The  attention  of  Christians  has  been  drawn  to  the  moral  and 
religious  needs  of  this  interesting  group  of  young  men  in  a  num 
ber  of  ways,  and  also  to  the  still  larger  group  who  are  beyond 
the  student  stage.  Methods  of  work  have  been  steadily  im 
proved  in  Christian  institutions.  Hostels  for  non-Christians 
have  been  built  in  considerable  numbers,  and,  under  devoted 
Christian  management,  have  produced  such  excellent  results 


HISTORICAL    OUTLINE    OF    THE    PERIOD          25 

that  there  is  a  loud  cry  for  the  extension  of  the  hostel  system 
throughout  the  country.  The  student's  magazine,  whether 
connected  with  a  single  college  or  meant  for  the  students  of 
a  province,  is  also  a  creation  of  these  years.  The  Young 
Men's  Christian  Association,  which  had  been  working  among 
Europeans  for  several  decades,  began  to  reach  out  to  Indians, 
both  Christian  and  non-Christian,  in  the  year  ^££9,  and  has 
proved  singularly  popular  and  efficient.  The  young  Indian 
Christian  likes  the  Association  because  of  its  democratic 
government  and  the  variety  of  its  activities.  To  the  young 
Hindu  the  Association  has  proved  a  very  great  boon  in  many  a 
town.  It  is  to  him  at  once  a  happy  social  club  and  a  centre 
of  religious  instruction.  Its  organization  and  methods  have 
been  copied  by  every  religious  group  throughout  India. 

3 .  If  Oriental  study  flowered  before  1 870,  we  may  say  that  its 
fruit  was  plucked  during  the  next  thirty  years.     Great  masses 
of  the  knowledge  acquired  by  the  leading  scholars  in  previous 
decades  were  made  available  for  the  ordinary  man  during 
these  years.    We  need  only  refer  to  these  magnificent  series 
of  volumes,  The  Sacred  Books  of  the  East,  Triibner's  Oriental 
Series,  The  Harvard  Oriental  Series  and  M.  N.  Butt's  long 
list  of  translations.     Several  of  the  books  published  during 
these  years  have  climbed  to  fame,  notably  Edwin  Arnold's 
Light  of  Asia  and  The  Song  Celestial.     Childers,  a  young  civil 
servant  in  Ceylon,  published  in  1875  a  Dictionary  of  Pali, 
and  thus  laid  the  basis  of  the  scientific  study  of  the  literature 
of  early  Buddhism.     Since  1870  Oriental  study  has  reacted; 
very  powerfully  on   the   Indian    mind    in   various    ways. 
Indian  scholars,  trained  in  European  methods,  have  done 
brilliant  service  both  in  the  editing  of  texts  and  in  transla 
tion. 

4.  The  reason  why  we  date  this  section  of  our  period  from 
1870  is  that  from  about  that  date  a  great  change  manifests 
itself  in  the  spirit  of  the  educated  classes  of  India.    Hitherto 


26     MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN   INDIA 

they  have  been  docile  pupils :  now  they  begin  to  show  the 
vigour  and  independence  of  youth.  There  is  a  wonderful 
outburst  of  freshness,  energy  and  initiative.  Many  forms  of 
new  effort  and  organization  appear.  The  most  pronounced 
line  of  thought  is  a  growing  desire  to  defend  Hinduism,  and 
an  increasing  confidence  in  its  defensibility.  The  movement 
is  now  shared  by  Muslims,  Buddhists,  Jains  and  Parsees, 
but  it  appeared  first  among  Hindus.  Rather  later,  new 
political  aspirations  began  to  be  expressed;  the  Indian 
National  Congress  came  into  being;  and  the  native  press 
climbed  to  great  influence.  About  the  same  time  the  Social 
Reform  Movement  was  organized.  The  first  college  organ 
ized  by  Hindus  was  opened  in  Calcutta  in  1879. 

5.  Religiously,  the  new  feeling  created  what  was  practically 
a  Counter-Reformation.  A  large  number  of  religious  move 
ments  sprang  into  being,  all  of  them  quite  as  distinctly  opposed 
to  the  Brahma  Samaj  and  the  Prarthana  Samaj  as  to  Chris 
tianity.  We  divide  these  movements  into  two  groups,  those 
which  insist  on  a  good  deal  of  reform,  and  those  which  lay  all 
their  emphasis  on  defence  of  the  old  faiths. 

Of  the  group  which  seeks  reform  the  most  noteworthy 
movements  have  their  home  in  the  Panjab.  There  is  first 
the  Arya  Samaj,  the  founder  of  which  was  an  ascetic  named 
Dayananda  Sarasvati.  A  Muhammadan,  named  Mirza 
Ghulam  Ahmad,  resident  in  a  village  in  the  Panjab, 
founded  a  body  which  holds  much  the  same  place  in  Indian 
Muhammadanism  that  the  Arya  Samaj  does  in  Hinduism. 
He  proclaimed  himself  the  Muslim  Mahdi,  the  Christian 
Messiah  and  a  Hindu  incarnation.  There  is,  lastly,  the 
Deva  Samaj,  an  atheistic  body  with  its  centre  in  Lahore, 
the  leader  of  which  receives  divine  honours. 

The  other  group  contains  a  large  number  of  movements,  of 
which  we  shall  mention  only  a  few  at  this  point.  The  first  is 
the  teaching  of  an  interesting  ascetic  who  lived  and  taught  in  a 


HISTORICAL    OUTLINE    OF    THE    PERIOD          27 

temple  a  few  miles  north  of  Calcutta.  He  is  known  as  Rama- 
krishna  Paramaharhsa.  Svaml  Vivekananda,  who  represented 
Hinduism  at  the  Parliament  of  Religions  in  Chicago,  was  a 
pupil  of  his.  The  next  movement  is  Theosophy,  which  was 
founded  by  a  Russian  lady,  named  Madame  Blavatsky,  in 
New  York  in  1875.  The  headquarters  were  moved  to  India 
in  1879,  and  have  remained  there  since.  Madame  Blavatsky 
declared  that  the  system  was  taught  her  by  certain  beings  of 
superhuman  knowledge  and  power  who,  she  said,  resided  in 
Tibet.  It  is  rather  remarkable  that  another  Russian,  a  man 
named  Notovitch,  created,  in  similar  fashion,  a  myth  about 
Jesus  in  connection  with  Tibet 1 ;  and  an  American  has  started 
in  Chicago  an  eclectic  form  of  Zoroastrianism  which  he  de 
clares  he  was  taught  by  the  Dalai  Lama  himself.2 . 

All  the  leading  Hindu  sects,  both  Vishnuite  and  Sivaite, 
have  formed  defence  associations;  and  Jains,  Buddhists, 
Parsees  and  Muhammadans  have  followed  their  example. 
We  need  not  deal  with  these  in  detail  here. 

These  two  groups  of  movements,  taken  together,  form  a  very 
striking  revival  of  the  ancient  religions,  parallel  to  the  revival 
which  the  faiths  of  the  Roman  Empire  experienced  in  the  early 
centuries  of  the  Christian  era. 

LITERATURE.  —  Trotter's  India  under  Victoria.  R.  C.  Dutt's 
Victorian  Age  in  India.  The  Lives  of  Ripon,  Dufferin  and  Lans- 
downe.  Richter's  History  of  Missions  in  India.  Phillip's  Outcastes' 
Hope,  London,  Y.  P.  M.  M.,  1912.  India,  Fifty  Years  of  Progress 
and  Reform,  by  R.  P.  Karkaria,  Oxford  Press,  1896. 

FOURTH  SECTION:  1895-1913 

This  brief  space  of  eighteen  years  is  but  a  fragment  of  a 
period ;  but  it  has  proved  so  different  in  character  from  the 
foregoing  time  that  it  would  be  misleading  not  to  set  it  by  it- 

1  P.  140,  below.  2  P.  346,  below. 


28     MODERN   RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN   INDIA 
self.    What  gives  it  its  peculiar  colour  is  the  new  national 

»M"M»M».   »H*I*    I'    «*>*•«•» 

spirit,  which  will  be  discussed  in  our  fifth  chapter. 

For  our  purposes  the  most  significant  events  of  the  decade, 
1895-1905,  are  the  serious  preparations  for  revolutionary 
action  which  were  made  during  these  years,  especially  in  the 
Maratha  country,  but  also  to  some  extent  in  the  Panjab  and 
Bengal.  Meantime,  the  national  movement  was  steadily 
gaining  in  strength,  and  men  were  becoming  furiously 
urgent  to  reap  results.  The  educated  Indian  was  becoming 
a  full-grown  man.  Towards  the  close  of  the  decade  there 
I;  came  the  Russo-Japanese  war,  the  result  of  which  was  to 
enhance  the  self-respect  and  the  sense  of  independence  and 
strength  of  every  thinking  Asiatic.  It  happened,  then,  that, 
while  these  three  series  of  events  were  moving  to  their 
climax,  we  had  in  India  as  the  representative  of  Britain 
Lord  Curzon,  a  man  of  high  aims,  of  will  and  knowledge,  of 
industry  and  eloquence,  but  also  a  man  whose  temperament 
and  action  were  as  a  mustard-blister  to  educated  India. 

Those  who  had  been  preparing  for  ten  years  got  their  oppor 
tunity  in  the  Partition  of  Bengal  in  October,  1905 ;  and  thus 
the  whole  length  of  Lord  Minto's  viceroyalty  (1905-1910)  was 
filled  with  the  horror  of  anarchism.  But  he  also  has  the  hon 
our  of  having  proposed  the  new  Councils,  which  have  served 
to  give  Indians  a  new  place  in  the  Government  of  India.  The 
King's  visit  in  1911-1912,  and  the  restoration  of  the  unity 
of  central  Bengal  greatly  helped  the  healing  process. 

Since  the  time  when  the  majority  of  the  educated  class 
came  to  recognize  that  anarchism  was  the  worst  enemy  the 
people  of  India  have,  the  new  national  feeling,  touched  as 
it  is  with  religious  feeling,  has  led  men  into  new  forms  of 
activity  and  service,  which  promise  to  bear  rich  fruit. 

LITERATURE.  —  Lord  Curzon  and  After,  by  Lovat  Fraser,  London, 
Heinemann,  i6s.  Indian  Unrest,  by  Sir  Valentine  Chirol,  London, 
Macmillan,  1910,  55.  net.  Indian  Nationalism,  by  Edwin  Bevan. 


CHAPTER  II 

MOVEMENTS   FAVOURING   VIGOROUS   REFORM 

1828-1913 

WE  have  already  seen  that  the  earliest  religious  movements 
of  our  period  were  very  radical  in  character,  seeking  both 
religious  and  social  reform  with  great  earnestness,  and  that 
organizations  which  sprang  from  them  at  a  later  date  were 
usually  filled  with  the  same  spirit.  All  these  movements 
oppose  both  idolatry  and  caste ;  and  none  of  the  leaders  have 
been  ascetics. 

i.  THE  BRAHMA  SAMAJ 

i.  Of  all  the  religious  movements  of  the  nineteenth  century 
the  Brahma  Samaj  has,  without  doubt,  proved  the  most  in 
fluential.  Brahma  is  an  adjective  formed  from  Brahman,  the 
God  of  the  Upanishads  and  the  Vedanta  philosophy,  and 
samaja  is  a  noun  meaning  society.  Throughout  its  history  it 
has  been  sternly  theistic  and  opposed  to  idolatry,  and  has  al 
ways  had  a  policy  of  reform.  Looked  at  from  one  side,  it  is 
one  of  a  long  series  of  attempts  to  found  a  spiritual  religion 
on  a  genuine  Hindu  foundation,  which  have  marked  the  reli 
gion  of  India  from  a  very  early  date ;  while,  from  the  other 
side,  it  is  a  new  creation,  rinding  the  sources  of  its  vitality  in 
Christian  faith  and  practice. 

Ram  Mohan  Ray  (Ramamohana  Rai)  (1221-1833),  the 
founder  of  the  Samaj,  is  the  pioneer  of  all  living  advance, 
religious,  social  and  educational,  in  the  Hindu  community 
during  the  nineteenth  century.  He  was  born  in  a  Kulin 

29 


30     MODERN   RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN   INDIA 

Brahman  family,  which  had  long  been  connected  with  the 
Muhammadan  government  of  Bengal.  The  family  were 
followers  of  Chaitanya,1  the  Bengali  Vishnuite  leader,  but  his 
mother  came  of  a  Sakta2  family.  Both  his  parents  were 
deeply  religious.  He  was  married  when  quite  a  boy ;  but  his 
girl-wife  soon  died,  and  his  father  married  him  to  two  other 
little  girls ;  so  that  until  i8243  he  was  a  polygamist 

When  he  was  about  twelve  years  old,  he  was  sent  to  study  at 
Patna,  at  that  time  a  famous  seat  of  Muhammadan  learning, 
which  was  then  the  passport  into  Government  service.  The 
effect  of  the  education  he  received  there  is  thus  described  by 
the  historian  of  the  Brahma  Samaj : 

He  is  said  to  have  been  specially  enchanted  with  the  writings 
of  the  Sufi  school  of  Mahomedan  philosophers,  whose  views 
tallied  to  a  large  extent  with  those  of  the  Vedantic  school  of 
the  Hindus  and  who  accordingly  were  regarded  as  little  better 
than  heretics  by  the  narrow  and  orthodox  school  of  Mahome- 
dans.  Throughout  his  subsequent  life,  Ram  Mohun  Roy  never 
entirely  shook  off  these  early  Mahomedan  influences.  In 
private  life,  through  a  long  course  of  years,  his  habits  and  tastes 
were  those  of  a  Mahomedan,  and  in  private  conversation  he 
always  delighted  to  quote  freely  from  his  favourite  Sufi  authors.4 

It  is  probable  that  he  also  made  the  acquaintance  of  the 
rationalistic  school  of  Muslim  thought,  the  Mu'tazilites,5 
as  B.  C.  Pal  suggests. 

On  his  return,  about  the  age  of  fifteen,  he  discovered  that 
the  differences  between  himself  and  his  father  on  the  subject 
of  idolatry  were  very  serious,  and  he  decided  to  leave  home. 
For  some  years  he  lived  a  wandering  life.  There  is  a  story 
that  he  visited  Tibet  to  study  Buddhism  and  held  discussions 
with  the  Lamas,  but  the  truth  of  it  is  uncertain.  But  finally 
his  father  recalled  him.  He  then  settled  in  Benares,  and 

1  P.  293,  below.  8  Miss  Collet,  115.  6  P.  96,  below. 

2  P.  303,  below.  4  HBS.,  I,  16-17. 


MOVEMENTS    FAVOURING    VIGOROUS    REFORM     31 

studied  Sanskrit  and  certain  of  the  Hindu  books.    In  1796 
he  began  the  study  of  English. 

In  1803  his  father  died,  and  Ram  Mohan  removed  to  Mur-  / 
shidabad,  where  he  published,  in  1804,  a  pamphlet  in  Persian,' 
Tuhfatul  Muwahhiddin,  A  Gift  to  Deists.     Here  the  rational 
istic  and  somewhat  hard  character  of  the  deistic  thought 
which  he  had  imbibed  from  his  study  of  the  Muhammadan 
doctors  makes  itself  manifest. 

Shortly  after,  he  entered  the  service  of  the  East  India  Com 
pany  under  Mr.  John  Digby.  This  gentleman,  noting  Ram 
Mohan's  studious  disposition,  became  his  friend,  and  helped 
him  to  acquire  a  better  knowledge  of  English  and  English 
literature.  He  still  continued  his  religious  inquiries  and  his 
discussions  with  those  round  about  him.  He  served  the 
Government  as  a  revenue  officer  for  nine  or  ten  years,  and 
amassed  a  fortune.  During  his  stay  at  his  last  station,  Rung- 
pur,  he  spent  a  good  deal  of  time  in  religious  discussion  with 
the  Hindus  and  Jains  of  the  town. 

From  this  time  onward  his  mother  opposed  and  persecuted 
him,  and  for  some  considerable  time  his  wives  refused  to  live 
with  him  on  account  of  his  heterodoxy.1 

Originally,  Ram  Mohan  had  only  hatred  for  the  English; 
but  his  practical  experience  of  the  Government,  his  inter 
course  with  Digby  and  further  study  of  English  literature 
led  to  a  change  of  feeling  and  conviction.2 

On  retiring  from  the  service  in  1814,  he  settled  in  Calcutta, 
with  the  definite  purpose  of  devoting  his  whole  time  and 
strength  to  the  propagation  of  his  religious  convictions.  He 
established  in  1815  a  society  called  the  Atmlya  Sabha  or 
Friendly  Association.  Meetings  were  held  weekly,  at  which 
texts  from  the  Hindu  scriptures  were  recited  and  hymns  were  \ 
sung:  but  the  society  ceased  to  meet  in  1819.  He  studied 
very  seriously,  giving  his  chief  attention  to  the  Upanishads 

1  Miss  Collet,  33-4,  115.  *  Miiller,  Biographical  Essays,  lyn.,  47. 


32     MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN    INDIA 

and  the  Veddnta-sutras  of  Badarayana.  Between  1816  and 
L&IQ  he  published,  in  both  Bengali  and  English,  an  abstract 
of  the  Veddnta-sutras,  translations  of  four  of  the  verse  Upani- 
shads,  and  two  pamphlets  in  defence  of  Hindu  theism.  His 
position  was  that  the  Upanishads  taught  pure  theism,  uncon- 
taminated  by  idolatry ;  and  he  summoned  his  fellow-country 
men  to  return  to  the  pure  religion  of  their  forefathers.  His 
vigorous  action  brought  him  not  only  controversy  but  serious 
persecution.  The  publication  of  these  works  created  extraor 
dinary  excitement  in  Bengal  and  even  beyond. 

Shortly  after  settling  in  Calcutta,  he  made  the  acquaintance 
of  the  Serampore  Missionaries.  He  also  set  himself  to  study 
Christianity  seriously,  learning  both  Hebrew  and  Greek  in 
order  to  get  at  the  sources.  The  result  of  his  reading  was 
thus  expressed  by  himself : 

The  consequence  of  my  long  and  uninterrupted  researches 
into  religious  truth  has  been  that  I  have  found  the  doctrines 
of  Christ  more  conducive  to  moral  principles,  and  better  adapted 
for  the  use  of  rational  beings,  than  any  other  which  have  come 
to  my  knowledge. 

In  order  to  give  practical  effect  to  this  conviction  he  published, 
in  1820,  a  very  remarkable  volume,  The  Principles  of  Jesus, 
the  Guide  to  Peace  and  Happiness,  being  a  series  of  extracts 
from  the  Gospels,  covering  the  bulk  of  Christ's  teaching  given 
by  Matthew  and  Luke,  with  a  few  pages  from  Mark  and  still 
fewer  from  John.  In  the  preface  to  this  volume  he  says : 

This  simple  code  of  religion  and  morality  is  so  admirably 
calculated  to  elevate  men's  ideas  to  high  and  liberal  notions 
of  one  God,  .  .  .  and  is  also  so  well  fitted  to  regulate  the  con 
duct  of  the  human  race  in  the  discharge  of  their  various  duties 
to  God,  to  themselves  and  to  society,  that  I  cannot  but  hope 
the  best  effects  from  its  promulgation  in  the  present  form. 

His  position  is  that  Christ  was  a  theist  like  himself,  that  His 
disciples  misunderstood  Him,  and  that  the  whole  edifice  of 


MOVEMENTS    FAVOURING    VIGOROUS    REFORM     33 

Christology  is  a  huge  mistake.  Despite  this  attitude,  we  can 
now  see  what  a  striking  and  prophetic  advance  in  the  growth 
of  the  Hindu  spirit  the  book  indicates,  and  can  rejoice  that 
Ram  Mohan  was  able  to  come  so  far ;  but,  necessarily,  his 
friends  at  Serampore  felt  that  the  Gospels  were  mangled  and 
used  in  an  utterly  unfair  and  unhistorical  way,  in  order  to  bar 
the  progress  of  Christianity  in  India.  Hence  Ram  Mohan 
was  now  involved  in  serious  controversy  on  the  Christian  side. 

But  he  was  almost  as  keenly  interested  in  education  and  in 
the  reform  of  the  Hindu  family  as  in  the  establishment  of  his 
religious  views.  In  the  matter  of  English  education  his  help 
proved  of  great  value.  He  was  one  of  those  who  formed  the 
scheme  of  the  Hindu  College,  which  was  opened  in  Calcutta 
in  1819 ;  and,  when  Duff  arrived  in  the  city  in  1830,  Ram 
Mohan  not  only  secured  a  suitable  house  for  his  English  school, 
but  also  brought  him  a  number  of  pupils.  He  realized  that 
caste  was  indefensible  and  required  to  be  opposed ;  but,  for 
various  reasons,  he  carefully  guarded  his  own  caste,  retained 
his  sacred  thread,  and  wrote  in  defence  of  the  observance  of 
caste ;  so  that  he  did  no  service  to  the  crusade. 

With  regard  to  the  family  he  felt  strongly.  The  influence 
of  the  Serampore  men  moved  him  decisively  here.  It  was 
chiefly  the  wrongs  of  women  that  stirred  him.  He  denounced 
widow-burning  and  polygainj,  and  pleaded  for  a  return  to 
earlier  practice  in  the  matter  of  the  rights  of  women  according 
to  the  Hindu  law  of  inheritance. 

His   efforts   proved   fruitful   in   several  directions.    The 
agitation  against  the  burning  of  widows,  in  which  he  hacT 
taken  a  great  part,1  found  its  conclusion  in  Lord  Bentinck's 
famous  order  of  the  4th  of  December,  1829,  forbidding  the 
cruel  practice. 

1  Strangely  enough,  Ram  Mohan,  though  eager  to  see  the  practice  cease, 
was  opposed  to  Lord  Bentinck's  proposal,  and  endeavoured  to  persuade 
him  not  to  carry  it  out.  See  Miss  Collet,  146. 


34     MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN    INDIA 

But  it  was  in  religion  that  his  work  was  most  effective. 
Through  his  friendship  with  the  Serampore  Missionaries  he 
was  led  to  help  them  in  their  great  task  of  translating  the 
New  Testament  into  Bengali.  In  the  course  of  the  work 
serious  discussions  arose,  and  collaboration  ceased ;  but  one 
of  the  Missionaries,  the  Rev.  W.  Adam,  sided  with  Ram 
Mohan,  and  became  a  Unitarian  in  May,  1821.  This  led  to 
the  formation  in  September,  1821,  of  a  Unitarian  Mission  in 
Calcutta  under  a  Committee  of  Europeans  and  Indians.  A 
house  was  rented,  and  Unitarian  services  were  conducted  in 
English.  A  printing-press  and  education  were  also  used  as 
auxiliaries ;  and  a  Vedant  College,  meant  to  turn  out  Hindu 
Unitarians,  was  opened.  But  Ram  Mohan  and  Adam  did 
not  pull  well  together,  and  little  success  was  attained.  The 
mission  was  given  up. 

2.  First  Period  of  the  Samdj,  1828-1842 :  Deistic  Theology 
and  Christian  Ethics.  Since  the  weekly  service  in  English  had 
failed,  some  friends  suggested  a  more  distinctly  Indian  service 
in  the  vernacular.  Feringhi  Kamal  Bose's  house  in  Upper 
Chitpore  Road  was  rented,  and  the  first  meeting  was  held  on 
the  20th  of  August,  1828.  The  name  chosen  at  first  was 
Brahma  Sabhd,  Brahman  Association,  but  it  was  soon  altered 
to  Brahma  Samdj.  His  chief  supporters  were  three  wealthy 
men,  of  whom  the  most  notable  was  Prince  Dwarka  Nath 
Tagore  (Dvdrikdndtha  Thakkura),  and  a  group  of  learned 
Brahmans.  The  society  met  every  Saturday  evening  from 
seven  to  nine.  The  service  was  in  four  parts,  the  chanting 
of  selections  from  the  Upanishads  in  Sanskrit  (this  was  done 
in  a  small  room  curtained  off  by  itself  into  which  only  Brah 
mans  were  admitted),  the  translation  of  these  passages  into 
Bengali,  a  sermon  in  Bengali,  and  the  singing  of  theistic 
hymns  in  Sanskrit  and  Bengali  composed  by  Ram  Mohan  and 
his  friends.  There  was  no  organization,  no  membership,  no 
creed.  It  was  merely  a  weekly  meeting  open  to  any  who  cared 


MOVEMENTS    FAVOURING    VIGOROUS    REFORM     35 

to  attend.    Ram  Mohan  believed  he  was  restoring  Hindu 
worship  to  its  pristine  purity. 

Soon  afterwards  a  building  was  erected  in  Chitpore  Road 
for  the  Samaj ;  and  it  was  opened  on  the  23rd  of  January, 
1830.  The  Trust  Deed  is  rather  a  remarkable  document. 
The  following  are  a  few  sentences  from  it : 

To  be  used  ...  as  a  place  of  public  meeting  of  all  sorts 
and  descriptions  of  people  without  distinction  as  shall  behave 
and  conduct  themselves  in  an  orderly  sober  religious  and 
devout  manner  for  the  worship  and  adoration  of  the  Eternal 
Unsearchable  and  Immutable  Being  who  is  the  Author  and 
Preserver  of  the  Universe  but  not  under  or  by  any  other  name 
designation  or  title  peculiarly  used  for  and  applied  to  any 
particular  Being  or  Beings  by  any  man  or  set  of  men  whatso 
ever  and  that  no  graven  image  statue  or  sculpture  carving 
painting  picture  portrait  or  the  likeness  of  anything  shall  be 
admitted  within  the  said  building  .  .  .  and  that  no  sacrifice 
.  .  .  shall  ever  be  permitted  therein  and  that  no  animal  or 
living  creature  shall  within  or  on  the  said  premises  be  deprived 
of  life  .  .  .  and  that  in  conducting  the  said  worship  and  adora 
tion  no  object  animate  or  inanimate  that  has  been  or  is  ... 
recognized  as  an  object  of  worship  by  any  man  or  set  of  men 
shall  be  reviled  or  slightingly  or  contemptuously  spoken  of 
.  .  .  and  that  no  sermon  preaching  discourse  prayer  or  hymn 
be  delivered  made  or  used  in  such  worship  but  such  as  have  a 
tendency  to  the  promotion  of  the  contemplation  of  the  Author 
and  Preserver  of  the  Universe  to  the  promotion  of  charity 
morality  piety  benevolence  virtue  and  the  strengthening  the 
bonds  of  union  between  men  of  all  religious  persuasions  and 
creeds. 

3 .  In  November,  1 830,  Ram  Mohan  sailed  for  England.  He 
had  long  wished  to  take  the  journey.  He  was  fully  conscious 
of  the  momentous  changes  destined  to  arise  in  India  from  the 
introduction  of  British  government.  Western  civilization  and 
Christianity ;  and  naturally  wished  to  study  lif e  and  religion 
in  England.  He  also  hoped  to  be  of  some  service  to  his  coun- 


36     MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN    INDIA 

try  politically,  since  the  Charter  of  the  East  India  Company 
fell  to  be  renewed  in  1833.  The  representative  of  the  Mughal 
dynasty,  now  a  pensioner  of  the  Company,  entrusted  him  with 
a  personal  petition,  and  conferred  on  him  the  title  of  Raja. 
He  took  two  servants  with  him,  in  order  that  he  might  keep 
caste  on  the  sea  and  in  England. 

He  was  received  with  the  utmost  cordiality  and  respect 
in  England,  and  exercised  a  greater  influence  than  he  can  have 
ever  hoped  to  do,  but  he  died  in  Bristol  in  1833.  In  Bristol 
Museum  there  hangs  a  portrait  by  Biggs,  which  is  repro 
duced  as  the  frontispiece  to  this  volume. 

4.  He  was  a  man  of  large  intellect,  of  wide  sympathies  and 
of  both  courage  and  force.  He  was  the  first  Indian  who 
realized  the  great  good  which  the  country  would  reap  from  its 
connection  with  Britain  and  from  the  leaven  of  Christianity. 
But J  he  realized  to  the  full  that  no  real  blessing  could  come 
to  India  by  the  mere  adoption  of  Western  things  unchanged. 
India,  he  said,  would  inevitably  remain  Indian.  No  gift  from 
the  outside  could  be  of  any  real  value  except  in  so  far  as  it 
was  naturalized.  His  long  bold  struggle,  on  the  one  hand,  for 
religious  and  social  purity,  for  educational  progress  and  jour 
nalistic  freedom,  and  his  brilliant  literary  work  and  unchang 
ing  fidelity  to  Indian  ideals,  on  the  other,  had  made  him  not 
only  the  most  prominent  of  all  Indians,  but  the  one  man  able 
to  stand  between  Indians  and  Englishmen  as  interpreter  and 
friend. 

But  he  was  neither  a  philosopher  nor  a  theologian.  He 
thought  out  no  system.  Faced  with  the  superstitions  and  the 
immoralities  of  popular  Hinduism,  on  the  one  hand,  and  seeing 
distinctly,  on  the  other,  the  truth  contained  in  Islam  and 
Christianity  as  well  as  in  his  own  Hindu  Upanishads,  he  found 
a  plain  man's  solution  of  the  complicated  problem.  He 

1  The  following  sentences  to  the  end  of  the  paragraph  are  from  the 
author's  article  on  the  Brahma  Samaj  in  ERE. 


MOVEMENTS    FAVOURING    VIGOROUS    REFORM     37 

seized  on  the  theistic  elements  common  to  the  three  faiths, 
and  declared  them  to  be  at  once  the  original  truths  of  Hin 
duism  (corrupted  by  the  populace  in  the  course  of  the  cen 
turies)  and  the  universal  religion  on  which  all  men  could  unite. 
We  must  not  be  astonished  at  the  crudeness  of  his  work.  The 
Vedas  from  which  alone  a  true  knowledge  of  the  rise  of  Hindu 
ism  can  be  obtained  were  inaccessible  to  him,  only  the  Upani- 
shads  being  available;  and  the  science  of  religion  had  not 
yet  gathered  its  stores  of  comparative  knowledge  to  illuminate 
the  whole  problem  of  the  religions  and  their  relation  to  each 
other. 

He  believed  he  was  restoring  the  Hindu  faith  to  its  original 
purity,  while,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  what  he  offered  was  a  deistic 
theology  and  worship.  Deism  was  very  popular  among  Euro-  n 
pean  rationalists  in  the  eighteenth  century,  and  it  harmonized  j! 
well  both  with  what  he  found  in  the  Upanishads  and  with  what 
he  had  learned  from  Muhammadan  rationalists.  The  Upani 
shads  teach  that  Brahman  is  actionless ;  that  he  has  no  pur 
pose  or  aim  which  could  lead  him  to  action ;  that  all  his  ac 
tivity  is  sport ;  that  he  is  beyond  the  range  of  thought  and 
speech ;  and  therefore  cannot  be  reached  by  man's  medita 
tions  and  prayers.  That  Ram  Mohan's  conception  of  God  was 
seriously  deistic  we  may  realize  clearly  from  the  lack  of 
prayer  in  the  worship  of  the  Samaj  in  his  day,  and  also  from 
the  definitions  of  worship  given  in  his  writings.  Here  is  a 
passage  from  his  Religious  Instructions  founded  on  Sacred 
Authorities: 

Question  —  What  is  meant  by  worship  ? 

Answer  —  Worship  implies  the  act  of  one  with  a  view  to 
please  another;  but  when  applied  to  the  Supreme  Being,  it 
signifies  a  contemplation  of  his  attributes. 

Question  —  In  what  manner  is  this  worship  to  be  performed  ? 

Answer  —  By  bearing  in  mind  that  the  Author  and  Governor 
of  this  visible  universe  is  the  Supreme  Being,  and  comparing 


38     MODERN   RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN   INDIA 

this  idea  with  the  sacred  writings  and  with  reason.  In  this 
worship  it  is  indispensably  necessary  to  use  exertions  to  subdue 
the  senses,  and  to  read  such  passages  as  direct  attention  to  the 
Supreme  Spirit.  .  .  .  The  benefits  which  we  continually  re 
ceive  from  fire,  from  air,  and  from  the  sun,  likewise  from  the 
various  productions  of  the  earth,  such  as  the  different  kinds  of 
grain,  drugs,  fruit  and  vegetables,  all  are  dependent  on  him: 
and  by  considering  and  reasoning  on  the  terms  expressive  of 
such  ideas,  the  meaning  itself  is  firmly  fixed  in  the  mind.1 

Contrast  with  these  statements  the  following  lines  from  a 
little  manual  used  at  present  by  the  Sadharan  Brahma  Samaj : 

Worship  is  the  communion  of  the  soul  with  God;  on  the 
part  of  man,  it  is  the  opening  of  his  soul,  the  outpouring  of  his 
aspirations,  the  acknowledgement  of  his  failures  and  trans 
gressions  and  the  consecration  of  his  life  and  work  to  God  as 
his  Lord,  Refuge  and  Guide ;  and  on  the  part  of  God,  the  com 
munication  of  His  light,  strength,  inspiration  and  blessing  unto 
the  longing  soul.2 

This  is  a  living  theism :  the  above  is  a  dry  deism. 

But  there  is  another  element  in  Ram  Mohan's  teaching 
which,  in  the  subsequent  history,  has  proved  of  infinite  impor 
tance,  namely  this,  that  he  did  not  believe  in  transmigration. 
Here  he  broke  absolutely  with  Hinduism.  Transmigration 
and  karma  are  the  very  essence  of  the  religion.  The  one  aim 
of  the  philosophy  of  the  Upanishads  is  the  attainment  of 
release  from  transmigration.  )\It  is  thus  only  the  simple  truth 
to  say  that  Ram  Mohan  was  no  longer  a  Hindu,  that  the 
orthodox  were  quite  right  in  their  suspicions,  although  they 
failed  to  lay  stress  on  the  crucial  point.  That  this  is  a  just 
judgment  is  made  plain  by  the  fact  that  the  historical  evolu 
tion  of  his  principles  has  ended  in  separating  the  Brahmas 
from  Hindu  society.  The  Brahma  to-day  is  as  distinctly 
outside  Hinduism  as  the  Christian  is. 

1  English  Works,  135,  137.         2  The  religion  of  the  Brahmo  Samaj,  40. 


PLATE    T 


From  life-size  portrait  by  Baron  rle  Srhwcter. 

PRINCE  DWARKA  XATH  TAGORE 


XW( 


MOVEMENTS    FAVOURING    VIGOROUS    REFORM     39 


Te  must  also  note  that  the  form  of  the  service  arranged 
by  Ram  Mohan  is  Christian.  Congregational  worship  is 
unknown  in  the  ancient  Hinduism  which  he  believed  he  was 
restoring  V  Further,  the  ethics  which  Ram  Mohan  recom 
mended  were  drawn  from  the  teaching  of  Christ. 

The  death  of  the  Founder  was  almost  fatal  to  the  infant 
society;  but  the  munificence  of  his  friend  Prince  Dwarka 
Nath  Tagore  enabled  it  to  exist  until  a  better  day  dawned. 

5.  Second  Period,    1842-1865: 


Theism  and  Religious  Reform.  In  1838  Debendra  Nath  Ta 
gore,  the  youthful  son  of  the  prince  who  had  been  Ram 
Mohan's  great  friend,  passed  through  a  very  decided  spiritual 
change,  which  made  him  a  consecrated  man  for  the  rest  of  his 
life.  The  following  year  he  formed,  along  with  a  few  friends, 
the  Tattvabodhini  Sabha,  or  Truth-  teaching  Association,  which 
met  wppiHy^fnrj-pligrini^g  ^fcfluagi™\i  and  once  a  month  for 

^_    Then  in  1842,  nine  years  after  Ram  Mohan's  death,  he  and 

his  young  friends  joined  the  Brahma  Samaj  ;   and,  for  some 

years,  the  two  societies  worked  side  by  side  for  common 

objects.    Debendra  was  soon  recognized  as  leader,  and,  being 

a  Brahman,  became  the  Achdrya  or  minister  of  the  Samaj. 

A  monthly,  called  the  Tattvabodhini  Patrikd,  or  Truth-teach 

ing   Journal,  began  to   appear;    and  a~^Vedic  school,   the 

Tattvabodhini  Pdthsala,  was  established,  partly  to  train  Brahma 

missionaries,  partly  with  a  view  to  check  Christianity,  now 

making   considerable   progress  in    Calcutta   under   Duff's1 

leadership.    Debendra  followed  Ram  Mohan  in  his  belief  that 

S  original  Hinduism  was  a  pure  spiritual  theism,  and  in  his 

"S  enthusiasm  for  the  Upanishads,  but  did  not  share  his  deep 

/  reverence  for  Christ.    He  believed  India  had  no  need  of 

Christianity  ;  and  he  was  never  known  to  quote  the  Bible. 

6.  He  saw  that  the  Samaj  needed  organization.    Hitherto 

1  P.  19,  above. 


40     MODERN   RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN    INDIA 

it  had  been  merely  a  weekly  meeting.  It  had  exercised  little 
influence  on  the  private  life  of  those  who  attended ;  and  they 
were  bound  by  no  lasting  tie  to  the  Society.  He  therefore 
drew  up,  in  1843,  what  is  known  as  the  Brahma  Covenant, 
a  list  of  solemn  vows  to  be  taken  by  every  one  on  becoming  a 
member  of  the  Society.  The  chief  promises  made  are  to  ab- 
S  stain  from  idolatry,  and  to  worship  God  by  loving  Him  and  by 
doing  such  deeds  as  He  loves.  The  members  of  the  Tattva- 
bodhinl  Sabha  were  the  first  to  take  the  vows.  This  fresh 
organization  greatly  strengthened  the  Samaj. 

At  the  same  time  a  brief  form  of  prayer  and  adoration, 
drawn  up  by  Debendra  and  called  Brahmopdsana,1  worship 
of  Brahman,  was  introduced.  This  addition  of  prayer  and 
devotional  exercises  to  the  service  of  the  Samaj  was  a  notable 
enrichment.  It  was  a  living  fruit  of  Debendra's  own  religious 
experience.  He  was  as  far  as  possible  from  being  a  deist.  He 
lived  a  life  of  constant  prayer  and  worship  of  God ;  and  the 
direct  communion  of  the  human  soul  with  the  supreme  Spirit 
was  the  most  salient  point  in  his  teaching. 

These  changes  and  the  vigorous  preaching  of  Debendra  and 
several  young  missionaries  in  Calcutta  and  many  places  round 
led  to  considerable  growth.  The  Samaj  began  once  more  to 
take  a  prominent  place  in  thejjfe  of  Bengal. 

But  there  were  difficulties. /\The  Vedas  were  recognized  as 
the  sole  standard  of  the  faith  of  the  Samaj ;  and  most  of  the 
members  believed  them  to  be  verbally  inspired.  Duff  was 
therefore  justified  in  criticizing  the  Samaj  for  holding  the 
plenary  inspiration  of  such  documents.  A  few  of  the  more 
advanced  members  saw  that  it  was  no  longer  possible  to  hold 
the  belief. )( In  order  that  the  matter  might  be  settled  on  a 
sure  basis,  four  students  were  sent  to  Benares,  that  each  might 
study  and  copy  one  of  the  four  Vedas,  and  bring  back  the  fruits 
of  his  labour.  They  reached  Calcutta  in  1850 ;  and  the  final 
1  Published  in  Brahma  Dharma. 


MOVEMENTS    FAVOURING    VIGOROUS    REFORM     41 

"Iresult  was  that  the  inerrancy  of  the  Vedas  was  altogether  given] 
up.     Thus  the  rationalism  implicit  in  Ram  Mohan's  teaching! 
from  the  beginning  became  fully  explicit;    and  the  Samaj, ', 
left  without  any  authoritative  standard  of  doctrine,  was< 
thrown  back  on  nature  and  intuition.     Yet  the  Upanishads  ] 
did  not  cease  to  be  the  chief  scripture  of  the  society ;  for,  just  I 
at  this  crisis,  Debendra  compiled  a  series  of  extracts  from 
Hindu  literature,  the  bulk  of  them  being  from  the  Upanishads,  > 
for  use  in  public  worship  and  private  devotion.     This  volume 
is  called  Brahma  Dharma,  i.e.  Brahma  Religion. 

7.  In^§5j)a  young  man  joined  the  Samaj  who  was  destined 
to  proveifo  third  leader.  This  was  K£shabChandra  Sen 
(Kesavachandra  Sena),  a  Calcutta  student,  who  came  of  a  well- 
known  Vishnuite  family  of  Vaidya  caste,  and  had  had  a  good  ^ 
modern  education.  For  two  years  he  did  nothing,  but  in  1859 
he  became  an  active  and  successful  worker.  Debendra 
formed  a  great  liking  for  his  gifted  young  friend,  while  Keshab 
looked  up  to  him  with  reverence  and  tenderness  as  to  a  father. 
\  In  1860  Keshab  founded  the  Sangat  Sabha,1  or  Believers' 
I  Association,  which  met  regularly  for  devotional  purposes  and 
\  for  the  discussion  of  religious  and  social  questions.  In  this 
weekly  meeting  the  problem  of  the  sacraments,  samskaras, 
celebrated  in  Hindu  homes  on  the  occasion  of  births,  mar 
riages  and  other  family  events,  was  discussed ;  and  their  idola 
trous  character  stood  out  so  clearly  that  the  members  came  to 
the  conclusion  that  Brahmas  could  not  conscientiously  take 
part  in  themrVjn  consequence,  Debendra  decided  that  no 
idolatrous  sacrament  should  ever  be  celebrated  in  his  own 
home,  and  prepared,  for  the  use  of  the  Samaj,  a  set  of  modified 
ceremonies  from  which  everything  heathen  and  idolatrous  had 
been  eliminated.  These  are  known  as  Brahma  rites;  the 
manual  is  called  the  Anushthana  Paddhati;  and  Brahmas  who 
use  them  are  known  as  Anushthanic  Brahmas.  The  worship 

1  The  word  Sangat  is  used  by  the  Sikhs  for  a  company  of  pious  people. 


42     MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN    INDIA 

of  Durga,  which  until  now  had  been  held  every  year  in  the 
Tagore  residence,  was  given  up,  and  the  chamber  in  which 
the  idol  stood  was  converted  into  a  chapel  for  family  worship. 
KThe  Sabha  also  discussed  caste,  with  the  result  that  the  mem 
bers  gave  it  up  once  and  for  all,  and  Debendra  discarded  his 
own  sacred  thread.  f\^.t  Keshab's  suggestion,  the  Samaj  be 
gan  to  follow  the  example  of  Christian  philanthropy,  and 
gathered  money  and  food  for  the  famine-stricken.  He  was 
daily  coming  more  and  more  under  the  influence  of  Christ, 
and  felt  in  the  depths  of  his  spirit  that  social  service  and  social 
reform  were  the  bounden  duty  of  every  serious  theist. 

Keshab  had  had  a  good  English  education  and  had  obtained 
a  post  in  the  Bank  of  Bengal.  In  1861  he  and  several  of  his 
young  friends  gave  up  their  positions,  in  order  to  become 
missionaries  of  the  Samaj.  Shortly  afterwards,  Keshab, 
though  he  was  not  a  Brahman,  was  formally  made  a  minister 
of  the  Samaj  with  the  title  of  Acharya.1  At  this  time  also  it 
was  arranged  that  no  minister  of  the  Samaj,  whether  Brah 
man  or  non-Brahman,  should  wear  the  sacred  thread. 

Amongst  the  new  activities  of  the  movement  were  the 
Brahma  Vidyalaya,  a  sort  of  informal  theological  school,  and 
a  fortnightly  English  journal,  The  Indian  Mirror,  which  soon 
became  influential. 

In  1864  Keshab  made  a  long  tour  extending  as  far  as  Madras 
and  Bombay,  and  preached  with  great  power  and  success 
wherever  he  went.  As  a  result  of  his  labours,  a  new  society 
called  the  Veda  Samaj  was  founded  in  Madras  that  same  year. 
From  this  society  the  present  Brahma  Samaj  of  Madras  has 
grown.  During  this  tour  the  welcome  which  he  received  far 
and  near,  and  the  many  openings  which  he  saw,  suggested  to 
him  the  possibility  of  a  Brahma  Samaj  for  the  whole  of  India. 

1  This  led  to  the  secession  of  a  number  of  the  older  members  of  the  Samaj, 
including  Isvara  Chandra  Vidyasagara.  They  formed  a  new  society,  the 
Upasana  Samaj,  which  did  not  last  long. 


MOVEMENTS   FAVOURING   VIGOROUS   REFORM     43 

Three  years  later  the  men  whom  he  had  influenced  in  Bombay 
formed  themselves  into  the  Prarthana  Samaj.1 

S.raut  all  the  changes  and  reforms  which  had  come  through 
Keshab's  activity  proved  too  much  for  the  older  members  of 
the  society ;  and  Debendra  himself,  though  he  felt  like  a 
father  towards  his  gifted  young  helper,  was  very  much 
afraid  that  spiritual  religion  would  be  sacrificed  to  the 
new  passion  for  social  reform.  To  him  the  latter  was  of 
very  little  consequence  as  compared  with  the  former. 
He  was  still  very  much  of  a  Hindu  in  feeling ;  he  believed 
that,  however  evil  caste  might  be,  members  of  the 
Samaj  ought  not  to  be  compelled,  in  the  circumstances 
of  those  days,  to  give  it  up.NHe  was  opposed  to  mar 
riages  between  people  of  different  castes;  and  he  could  not 
endure  the  thought  of  widow-remarriage.  Keshab's  Chris-  . 
tian  studies,  on  the  other  hand,  had  led  him  and  his  associates  | 
to  see  that  th^oye^rtli^ow  of^a^te^^J^^ 
the  Hindu  family  were  altogether  necessary  for  the  moral  and 
religious  health  of  India.  There  were  religious  differences 


between  them  also>a  Debendra  was  a  deeply  devotional 
spirit,  but  the  fact  of  sin  and  the  need  of  repentance  had  made 
very  little  impression  upon  him ;  while,  through  the  teaching 
of  Christ,  Keshab  and  his  party  had  become  fully  alive  to 
the  supreme  importance  of  the  ethical  side  of  religion,  both 
for  the  individual  and  the  country. 

The  consequence  was  the  formation  of  two  parties  within 
the  Samaj,  each  eager  to  be  friendly  with  the  other,  and  yet 
each  unable  to  yield  to  the  other ;  and  suspicion  grew  apace. 
On  the  5th  of  October,  1864,  a  very  violent  cyclone  visited 
Calcutta  and  Bengal,  and  so  damaged  the  Brahma  building 
that  it  became  necessary  to  hold  the  services  in  Debendra's 
house.  He  seized  this  opportunity  to  allow  ministers  wearing 
the  sacred  thread  to  officiate.  Keshab  and  his  party  protested 

1  P.  74,  below. 


44     MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS   IN   INDIA 

against  this  breach  of  the  rules,  while  Debendra  would  not 
budge.  Negotiations  were  carried  on  for  some  time,  but 
without  result.  Consequently,  early  in  1865,  Keshab^and 
his  party  withdrew,  leaving  Debendra  and  his  followers  with 

•C^*^^"\,_-^--«^-w^*^>— — -V--'       s^-^/^.^^N^^---"" N.^ — V-* 

all  the  property  of  the  Samaj.  Keshab  was  only  twenty-four 
years  of  age.  There  were  already  fifty  Samajes  in  Bengal, 
three  in  North  India  and  one  in  Madras. 

9.  Since  the  secession,  the  old  Samaj  has  bec^mejnore 
Hindu  than  before.  Its  ambiguoust^oj^cal^osition. is 
rejlej^te^in^its  undecided  attitude^tojcaste.  On  this  latter 
point  one  of  its  leaders  wrote : 

In  conformity  with  such  views,  the  Adi  Samaj  has  adopted 
{a  Hindu  form  to  propagate  Theism  among  Hindus.  It  has 
(therefore  retained  many  innocent  Hindu  usages  and  cus- 
'torns.  ...  It  leaves  matters  of  social  reformation  to  the 
{judgments  and  tastes  of  its  individual  members.  ...  If  it 
tbe  asked  why  should  such  social  distinctions  as  caste  be  ob- 
*  served  at  all,  the  reply  is  that  the  world  is  not  yet  prepared 
^for  the  practical  adoption  of  the  doctrines  of  levellers  and 
{socialists.1 

loT We  may  here  sum  up  what  we  have  to  say  about  De 
bendra  Nath  Tagore ;  for,  though  he  preached  from  time  to 
time,  and  now  and  then  published  something,  during  the 
forty  years  that  intervened  between  the  secession  and  his 
death  in  1905,  yet  he  no  longer  occupied  his  old  prominent 
position.  He  spent  most  of  his  time  in  retirement  and  de 
votional  exercises,  either  on  the  Himalayas  or  in  his  own  home 
in  Calcutta.  .^  His  great  and  noble  character  and  his  lofty 
spiritual  nature  so  impressed  his  fellow-citizens  that  he  was 
universally  known  as  the  Maharshi,  the  great  Rishi  or  Seer ; 
and  he  was  looked  up  to  by  all  sections  of  the  Samaj  as  the 
saintly  patriarch  of  the  movement.  I  had  the  pleasure  of 
seeing  and  talking  with  him  a  few  months  before  his  death. 
1 HBS.,  1, 189. 


PLATE   II 


From  portrait  by  W.  Archer,  R.A. 

MAHARSHI  DEBENDRA  NATH  TAGORE 


MOVEMENTS    FAVOURING    VIGOROUS    REFORM     45 

The  bleached  complexion  and  massive  architecture  of  his  face 
revealed  even  then,  at  the  age  of  eighty-seven,  the  lofty  spirit 
ual  nature  and  the  sensitive  heart  which  had  done  so  much  in 
the  far-away  years. 

He  regarded  himself  as  a  true  Hindu,  standing  in  the  long 
noble  succession  of  the  thinkers  and  rapt  devotees  of  the 
Vedanta ;  and  it  is  indeed  true  that  a  large  measure  of  their 
reverence  and  inspiration  had  descended  to  him.  But  he  failed 
to  realize  that  the  rejection  of  the  authority  of  the  Vedas,  and 
above  all  of  the  doctrine  of  transmigration  and  karma,  had  set 
him  outside  the  nexus  of  the  peculiar  beliefs  and  aspirations  of 
Hinduism.  Since  he  was  unwilling  to  learn  from  Christ,  and 
since  he  stood  apart  from  the  chief  source  of  Hindu  religious 
passion  —  the  desire  for  release  from  rebirth,  —  his  Samaj 
has  barely  succeeded  in  keeping  afloat  amid  the  fierce  currents 
of  modern  thought  and  practical  life. 

ii.  Third  Period,  1865-1878:  T^wo^Sam^es:  Theisjnjmd 
SocialR^orm.  At  this  time  I^sjiajb  read  a  great  deal  of 
Christian  literature  and  came  mor^andjnpj^iinder^  Christian 
influence.  Dean  Stanley's  Works,  Robertson's  Sermons, 
Liddon's  Divinity  of  our  Lord,  the  Theologica  Germanica  and 
Seeley's  Ecce  Homo  were  among  the  volumes  which  touched 
him  most  deeply.  The  influence  of  Seeley  can  be  very  dis 
tinctly  felt  in  the  lecture  delivered  in  1866  on  Jesus  Christ: 
Europe  and  Asia.  He  called  attention  to  the  fact  that  Jesus 
was  an  Asiatic,  and  spoke  very  freely  of  Christ's  greatness 
and  his  supernatural  moral  heroism.  The  chief  point  of  the 
lecture,  however,  is  a  straightforward,  manly  appeal,  addressed 
to  Europeans  as  well  as  his  fellow-countrymen,  to  follow  the 
moral  precepts  of  Jesus.  His  enthusiasm  for  Christ  led 
many  to  believe  that  he  was  about  to  become  a  Christian. 

Many  of  his  followers  turned  enthusiastically  to  the  study 
of  the  Bible  at  this  time;  and  the  touch  of  Christ  produced  a 
new  seriousness  among  them,  which  showed  itself  in  an  eager 


46      MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS   IN   INDIA 

desire  to  lead  a  pure  and  holy  life,  and  a  passion  for  saving 
souls.  It  was  this  that  formed  the  temper  of  the  missionary 
body.  These  men,  seven  or  eight  in  number,  all  of  them 
attached  by  the  closest  personal  ties  to  Keshab,  were  the 
strength  of  the  new  movement.  They  were  great  in  enthu 
siasm  and  self-sacrifice.  They  lived  lives  of  simplicity  and 
hard  work,  and  suffered  both  privation  and  persecution. 
They  went  about  preaching,  and  many  individuals  were  won 
to  the  cause.  Yet  the  seeds  of  future  difficulty  were  already 
visible.  There  was  no  organization ;  and  so,  although  each 
missionary  was  bound  to  Keshab  by  strong  religious  ties, 
lack  of  definite  arrangement  and  rule  led  to  frequent 
quarrels  amongst  them,  which  Keshab  found  it  hard  to 
compose. 

12.  At  the  end  of  1866  he  formed  a  new  society,  called  the 

«>s/xw  —x^w— • \^~*s*» 

^^^^^r^^l^.^,  and  invited  all  Brahmas  through 
out  the  country  to  join  it.  Henceforward  the  original  Samaj 
f  was  called  the  ^j^grjjgrj.a^jga^nlj,  or  original  society.  A 
•  number  of  the  steady  old  members  held  by  Debendra,  but 
nearly  the  whole  of  the  younger  and  more  enthusiastic  men 
followed  Keshab ;  and  many  noteworthy  Brahmas  in  other 
parts  of  India  also  adhered  to  him.  Unfortunately  there 
was  no  constitution,  no  governing  body,  no  rules.  Every 
thing  was  left  in  Keshab's  hands.  Very  soon  afterwards  a 
selection  of  theistic  texts  from  the  Hindu,  Buddhist,  Jewish, 
Christian,  Muhammadan  and  Chinese  Scriptures  was  pub 
lished,  under  the  title  Slokasangraha,  or  Collection  of  Texts, 
for  use  in  the  services  of  the  Samaj.  The  wider,  freer  outlook 
of  the  new  body  thus  received  very  vivid  expression.  The 
society  held  its  weekly  service  in  Keshab's  own  house  on 
Sundays,  while  the  leaders  still  attended  the  regular  service 
of  the  Adi  Samaj,  which  was  held  on  Wednesday. 

13.  The  separation  from  Debendra  depressed  Keshab,  and 
threw  him  back  on  God.    Hence,  he  and  his  fellow-mission- 


MOVEMENTS    FAVOURING    VIGOROUS    REFORM     47 

aries  spent  long  days  of  fervent  prayer  and  adoration  in  his 
house,  seeking  strength  and  courage  from  God.  Ever  since 
his  conversion  he  had  been  a  man  of  prayer,  but  he  now  en 
tered  into  a  deeper  experience  of  its  joy  and  power  than  ever 
before. 

Set  free  from  old  restraints,  and  having  round  him  a  large 
body  of  enthusiasts  who  were  ready  for  progress,  he  adopted  a 
number  of  new  practices  which  were  meant  to  deepen  and 
strengthen  the  religious  life  of  the  Samaj.  The  sources  of  his 
new  methods  were  the  Vishnuism  of  Chaitanya,1  which  was 
traditional  in  his  own  family,  and  Christianity,  which  was  now 
influencing  him  so  deeply.  He  began  to  use  the  old  Vishnuite 
word  bhakti,  which  covers  both  love  for  God  and  faith  in  Him, 
and  to  stir  the  members  of  the  Samaj  to  live  by  it.  One  of 
his  missionaries,  Bijay  Krishna  Gosvami,  was  a  lineal  descend 
ant  of  one  of  the  companions  of  Chaitanya.  Keshab  com 
missioned  him  to  introduce  the  instruments  used  in  the  old 
sect,  and  begin  sankirtana,1  the  enthusiastic  singing  in  chorus, 
with  musical  accompaniments,  of  hymns  of  praise  and  devo 
tion.  Chaitanya  had  also  taught  his  followers  to  move  in 
procession  through  the  streets  of  a  town,  dancing  and  singing 
praise  to  God,  with  flags  flying  and  drums  beating.  This 
nagarklrtana?-  town-praise,  was  adopted  and  used  in  Calcutta 
with  much  success.  He  also  drew  up  a  new  liturgy  for  use  in 
the  services,  which  is  still  widely  used.  From  this  time  too 
the  Brahmas  have  held  several  annual  festivals,  each  lasting 
two  or  more  days.  The  whole  time  is  spent  in  prayer,  worship 
and  the  hearing  of  religious  addresses.  Keshab  thus  did  all 
in  his  power  to  start  the  new  society  in  a  living  experience  of 
God  and  His  service. 

14.  In  August,  1869,  a  building  in  Machua  Bazaar  Street 
was  opened  for  the  use  of  the  new  Samaj  with  great  rejoicings. 
Then,  just  as  Ram  Mohan  did,  after  the  opening  of  the  original 

1  P.  293,  below. 


48     MODERN    RELIGIOUS   MOVEMENTS    IN   INDIA 

building,  Keshab  suddenly  announced,  to  the  amazement  of 
his  friends,  his  intention  of  going  to  England.  The  Samaj 
was  altogether  without  organization,  and  all  its  activities  de 
pended  entirely  on  Keshab  himself ;  so  that  it  seemed  rather 
unwise  for  him  to  go  away.  But  some  sort  of  arrangement 
was  made,  and  Keshab  took  the  journey.  He  was  received  in 
England  with  the  utmost  cordiality,  delivered  addresses  in 
all  parts  of  the  country,  met  many  noteworthy  people,  and 
made  many  new  friends.  The  visit  was  also  a  great  expe 
rience  for  Keshab  :  he  returned  to  India  with  a  new  sense  of 
the  priceless  value  of  the  Christian  home,  and  with  his  head 
filled  with  fresh  schemes  for  social  reform. 

15.  The  yo^mge^mejmbers  of  the^new^Samaj  had  been  very 
s^jociajlf^  outset.     They  were,  above  all, 

enthusiastic  advocates  of  the  edu^ation^of^rls^nd^of^he 
emanc^^oj^of^wjom^n.     Some  of  them  began  to  take  their 
wives  witiuherrTto  call  on  Christians  and  to  social  gatherings. 
They  invented  a  new  and  becoming  dress,  more  suited  for 
outdoor  wear  and  social  intercourse  than  the  rather  scanty 
clothing  of  the  stay-at-home  Bengali  wife.    A  new  form  of 
marriage-ritual  was  created,  more  truly  expressive  of  progres 
sive  Brahma  feeling  than  the  form  in  use  in  the  old  Samaj, 
and  in  it  were  included  marriage-vows  to  be  taken  by  the  bride 
and  bridegroom,  in  imitation  of  Christian  marriage.     They 
'   struggled  to  put  down  child-marriage.     Several  w$Q%?  were 
|   remarrie^  and  more  than  one  imma^^tweeji_^ejs^s 
I  ^l^er^ni^c'dsies  was  solemnized.     Philanthropy  was  not 
neglected.     In  time  of  famine  or  epidemic  they  were  ready  to 
I  help. 

Later,  it  became  clear  that  there  was  no  law  in  existence 
under  which  Brahma  marriages  could  come.  Hence  Keshab 
appealed  to  the  Government,  and,  after  much  discussion  and 
difficulty,  an  Act^was^rjassed  in  1872  which  legalized  Jhem. 
Pandit  S.  N.  Sastr!  remarks : 


MOVEMENTS    FAVOURING    VIGOROUS    REFORM     49 

The  passing  of  this  Act  may  be  justly  regarded  as  the  crown-, 
ing  success  of  the  prolonged  efforts  of  the  reformers  for  the? 
amelioration  of  their  social  life.  It  abolished  early  marriage,^ 
made  polygamy  penal,  sanctioned  widow  marriages  and  inter-* 
caste  marriages.  As  such  it  was  hailed  with  a  shout  of  joy  by* 
the  progressives ;  but  ever  since  it  has  been  one  of  the  prin- * 
cipal  causes  that  have  alienated  the  Brahmos  from  the  sym-( 
pathies  of  their  orthodox  countrymen.1 

The  new  social  activities  which  Keshab  inaugurated  on  his 
return  from  England  included  a  Normal  Sdiool  for  girls,  an 
Industrial  SchooHor  boys,  the  Victoria  Institution  for  women, 
and  the  Bhdrat  Asram,  a  home  in  which  a  number  of  families 
were  gathered  together  for  the  cultivation  of  a  better  home- 
life,  and  for  the  education  of  women  and  children.-  Journal 
ism  was  also  eagerly  pursued.  The  Indtan^Mirror  became  a 
d<aij^_rjar3er,  and  the  Sulabh  Samdchdr,  the  Cheap  News,  a 
Bengali  weekly  published  at  a  farthing,  began  to  appear. 

The  movement  was  very  successful.  The  tours  of  the 
missionaries  in  country  towns,  Keshab's  tours  to  distant 
cities,  and  his  great  lectures  in  English  drew  great  numbers 
of  men  to  theism  and  rapidly  built  up  the  membership  of  the 
Samaj.  Several  of  the  other  missionaries,  notably  Pratap 
Chandra  Mozoomdar,  were  growing  in  strength  and  spiritual 
power. 

1 6.  Yet  Keshab  began  to  be  conscious  that  all  was  not  well 
in  the  Samaj .  An  opposition  party  was  being  formed.  There 
were  several  reasons  for  their  dissatisfaction.  While  Keshab 
was  in  most  things  very  progressive,  he  was  oppose4jt£  giving 
women  much  freedom,  and  was  very  much  afraid  of  the  effects 
which  a  university  education  would  produce  on  them.  He 
had  already  done  much  to  release  them  from  the  restraints  of 
Hinduism,  and  he  was  in  favour  of  giving  girls  a  simple  edu 
cation;  but  a  lar^jmdjrrowmg ;_party  were  coming  more 

I,  251. 


50     MODERN   RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS   IN   INDIA 

and  more  un^ej^thejgdl^JWestem  jdeals,  and  they  were  de 
termined  that  their  daughters  should  receive  a  good  modern 
education.  The  second  point  of  difference  sprang  from  the 
supremacy  of  Keshab  in  the  Samaj.  He  was  so  much  bigger 
than  any  other  Brahma,  and  his  addresses  showed  so  much 
inspiration,  and  influenced  men  so  deeply,  that  he  began  to 
believe  himself  different  from  other  men,  dowered  with  a  con 
stant  inspiration  from  heaven;  and  some  of  his  youthful 
.  followers  began  to  fall  at  his  feet  and  to  address  him  as  Hindus 
/have  been  accustomed  to  address  their  gurus  for  many  cen- 
'  turies.  The  party  of  progress  and  freedom  were  very  sen 
sible  of  the  extreme  dangers  of  guruism  in  a  modern  body  like 
the  Samaj,  and  they  protested  seriously  against  it.  Two  of 
the  missionaries  actually  left  Keshab.  It  seems  clear  that  he 
rebuked  his  young  disciples  when  their  enthusiasm  carried 
them  to  extremes;  yet  in  his  lectures  he  used  expressions 
which  might  well  lead  people  to  treat  him  as  different  from 
other  men ;  and  Mozoomdar  tells  us  frankly  that  he  always 
favoured  those  who  regarded  him  as  the  divinely  commissioned 
leader  of  the  movement,  and  severely  criticized  the  opposite 
party.  The  worst  point  of  all  was  his  doctrine  of  adesh 
(ddesa).  He  declared  that  from  time  to  time  a  direct_£om- 
mand  from  God  was  laid  upon  him  by  srjeciajjevelation.  The 
want  of  organization  in  the  Samaj  made  matters  still  worse. 
It  is  probably  true  that  he  had  no  desire  to  be  an  autocrat ; 
yet,  since  there  was  no  constitution,  and  since  he  objected  to 
every  form  of  popular  government  proposed  by  the  other  party, 
everything  depended  upon  him,  and  he  occupied,  as  a  matter 
of  fact,  the  position  of  master  of  the  Samaj,  whether  he  de 
served  to  be  charged  with  autocracy  or  not. 

17.  In  a  temple  a  few  miles  to  the  north  of  Calcutta  there 
lived  an  ascetic  known  as  Ramakrishna  Paramahamsa,  of 
whom  we  shall  hear  later.1  Ke^hajD^ma^eJ^^ 

1  P.  188,  below. 


MOVEMENTS    FAVOURING    VIGOROUS    REFORM     51 

went  frequently  to  see  him,  and  now  and  then  took  a  large 
company  of  his  followers  with  him.  There  can  be  no  doubt 
that  Keshab's  appreciation  of  the  man  and  his  frequent  praise 
of  his  devotion  and  his  stimulating  conversation  did  much  to 
bring  Ramakrishna  into  public  notice,  and  to  draw  to  him  the 
crowds  of  disciples  who  listened  to  his  words.  We  do  not 
know  when  Keshab  made  his  acquaintance,  but  Ramakrish- 
na's  latest  biographer  states  that  it  was  about  the  year  1875  ; 
and  that  seems,  on  the  whole,  the  most  likely  date.1  Rama 
krishna  was  a  man  of  deeply  religious  nature.  He  was  a  true 
Hindu,  little  touched  by  Western  influences,  holding  the  Ve- 
danta  philosophy,  ready  to  worship  any  Hindu  idol,  and  pre 
pared  to  defend  any  Hindu  belief  or  practice  against  all 
comers,  yet  also  cojrvjn^d^a>tjd^rcl^  that 

no  man  should  leave  the  faith  into  which  he  has  beer^born. 

Feeling  very  distinctly  the  growing  opposition  in  the  air 
around  him,  Keshab  sought  once  more  by  prayer,  consecra 
tion  and  new  forms  of  renunciation  to  unite  and  strengthen 
the  missionary  body,  and  to  fill  the  whole  Samaj  with  such 
enthusiastic  devotion  as  to  preclude  the  possibility  of  dis 
union.  The  practices  which  he  adopted  himself  and  which  he 
induced  his  missionaries  to  adopt  at  this  time  are  so  very 
different  in  spirit  from  the  methods  of  devotion  that  he  em 
ployed  earlier,  and  are  so  distinctlv^Hindu,  that  one  is  tempted 
to  see  in  them  evidence  of  the  influence  of  Ramakrishna. 

-\--**^->— »^-~— »~-^— •S^C'W-wJ- 

Here  is  the  account  given  by  Sastri : 

It  was  not  entirely  the  asceticism  of  the  spirit  that  he  in 
culcated  at  this  time ;  for  he  countenanced,  both  by  precept 
and  example,  some  of  the  external  forms  of  it.  For  instance, 
he  himself  gave  up  the  use  of  metallic  drinking  cups,  substi 
tuting  earthen  ones  for  them,  his  example  being  followed  by 
many  of  the  missionaries ;  he  took  to  cooking  his  own  food  and 
constructed  a  little  thatched  kitchen  on  the  terrace  of  the  third 

1  P.  194,  below. 


52     MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN    INDIA 

story  of  his  Kalutolah  house  for  that  purpose ;  and  introduced 
the  ektara,  a  rude  kind  of  musical  instrument  and  the  mendicant's 
drinking  bowl,  well-known  to  a  sect  of  Vaishnavas.  .  .  .  One 
thing,  however,  was  remarkable.  Along  with  the  development 
of  these  tendencies  there  was  visible  a  decline  of  the  old  philan 
thropic  activities  of  the  Samaj.  The  educational  and  other 
institutions  started  under  the  Indian  Reform  Association,  for 
instance,  began  to  decline  from  this  time.  Very  great  stress 
was  laid  on  meditation  and  retirement  from  the  world.  With 
a  view  to  giving  practical  effect  to  these  ideas,  Mr.  Sen  pur 
chased  a  garden  in  the  village  of  Morepukur,  within  a  few 
miles  of  Calcutta,  in  1876,  and  duly  consecrated  it  to  that 
purpose  on  the  2oth  of  May  that  year,  under  the  name  of  Sadhan 
Kanan,  or  "Forest  Abode  for  Religious  Culture."  Here  many 
of  the  missionaries  of  the  Samaj  spent  with  him  most  of  the 
days  of  the  week  in  meditation  and  prayer,  in  cooking  their 
own  food,  in  drawing  water,  in  cutting  bamboos,  in  making  and 
paving  roads,  in  constructing  their  cabins,  in  planting  and 
watering  trees,  and  in  cleansing  their  bedrooms.  As  marks 
of  their  asceticism  they  began  to  sit  below  trees  on  carpets 
made  of  hides  of  tigers  and  of  other  animals,  in  imitation  of 
Hindu  mendicants  and  spend  long  hours  in  meditation.  .  .  . 
It  was  towards  the  end  of  this  year  that  Mr.  Sen  introduced  a 
fourfold  classification  of  devotees.  He  chose  from  amongst  his 
missionaries  four  different  sets  of  men  to  represent  four  types 
of  religious  life.  The  Yogi,  or  the  adept  in  rapt  communion, 
the  Bhakta,  or  the  adept  in  rapturous  love  of  God,  the  Jnani, 
or  the  earnest  seeker  of  true  knowledge  and  the  Shebak, 
or  the  active  servant  of  humanity.  These  four  orders  were 
constituted  and  four  different  kinds  of  lessons  were  given  to 
the  disciples  .of  the  respective  classes.1 

He  succeeded  by  these  means  in  binding  the  missionaries  to 
himself,  but  he  failed  with  a  large  section  of  his  followers. 

1 8.  Yet  things  might  have  continued  as  they  were  for  some 
time,  but  for  a  chance  occurrence,  which  led  to  a  serious  prac 
tical  application  of  the  doctrine  of  adesh 2  by  Keshab,  and  which 

1 HBS.,  I,  269-71.  2  P.  50,  above. 


MOVEMENTS    FAVOURING    VIGOROUS    REFORM     53 

convinced  the  opposing  party  that  they  were  absolutely  right 
in  their  estimate  of  him.  The  Government  of  Bengal  had  had 
the  yojmgjieir  to^diejiative^tate  of  Kuch  Bihar  (in  North 
Bengal)  carefully  educated  under  English  officials,  so  that  he 
might  become  a  capable  modern  ruler,  and  they  had  arranged 
that  he  should  proceed  on  a  visit  to  England.  But  his  mother 
demanded  that  he  should  be  married  before  leaving  India; 
and  the  Government  officials  who  were  responsible  for  his 
training  were  most  anxious  that  he  should  be  married  to  a  cul 
tured  girl  who  would  be  a  help  and  not  a  hindrance  to  him. 
Consequently,  the  proposal  was  made  that  he  should  marry 
Now,  the  Brahma  leader  had  been 


fighting  idolatry  and  child-marriage  for  many  years;  and, 
through  his  influence,  a  special  Marriage  Act  had  been  passed 
for  Brahmas.1  The  young  prince  and  Keshab's  daughter 
were  both  under  age  from  the  point  of  view  of  the  Brahma 
Marriage  Law.  Further,  the  Kuch  Bihar  family  were  Hin 
dus  ;  and,  consequently,  the  prince  could  not  be  married  as  a 
Brahma.  His  marriage  would  necessarily  be  a  Hindu  mar 
riage;  and  there  could  be  no  guarantee  that  he  would  not 
marry  other  wives.  It  was  thus  perfectly  clear  that  Keshab 
could  not  consistently  agree  to  the  marriage.  But  several 
things  conspired  to  make  it  difficult  to  refuse.  The  Govern 
ment  were  most  eager  to  see  it  carried  out.  Already  tentative 
proposals  had  been  made  with  regard  to  the  daughter  of 
another  Brahma,  with  whom  the  alliance  would  be  made, 
if  Keshab  declined  it.  The  young  man  himself  declared  that 
he  was  a  theist,  and  that  he  would  not  marry  more  than  one 
wife  ;  yet,  as  he  was  not  a  member  of  the  Samaj,  that  could 
not  alter  the  character  of  the  marriage.  Indeed,  since  Kuch 
Bihar  is  a  native  state,  the  Brahma  Marriage  Act  was  alto 
gether  inapplicable.  Government,  however,  extracted  prom 
ises  from  the  Kuch  Bihar  family,  that  everything  idolatrous 
1  P.  48,  above. 


54     MODERN   RELIGIOUS   MOVEMENTS   IN   INDIA 

would  be  excluded  from  the  ceremony,  and  that  the  marriage 

would  be  in  fact  a  betrothal,  as  the  parties  would  not  live 

together  until  the  young  man  returned  from  England,  when 

both  would  be  of  age.     But  what  decided  Keshab  was  the 

.  doctrine  of  adesh.    He  believed  that  he  had  received  from  God 

'  a  command  to  go  on  with  the  wedding ;  and  therefore,  in  spite 

jof  all  the  facts  already  mentioned,  and  in  spite  of  the  vehe- 

Sment  protests  of  a  large  party  in  the  Samaj,  he  gave  his 

t  consent. 

As  was  to  be  expected,  the  Kuch  Bihar  family  did  not  carry 
out  their  promises.  The  wedding  as  celebrated  was  a  Hindu 
marriage;  idolatrous  implements  and  symbols  were  in  the 
pavilion ;  and,  though  Keshab  and  his  daughter  both  with 
drew  before  any  idolatrous  ceremonies  took  place,  the  ritual 
was  completed  by  the  Hindu  priests  in  the  presence  of  the 
bridegroom  in  the  usual  way. 

19.  A  tremendous  stonn_foll£wedjm.  Calcutta.    The  oppos 
ing  party  did  their  best  to  depose  Keshab,  and  to  seize  the 
building,  but  failed  in  both  attempts.     Finally,  they  left  the 
Samaj,  a  great  body  of  intelligent  and  influential  men.     For 
many  years  a  fierce  controversy  raged  round  the  details  of  the 
wedding ;   but  the  facts  are  now  quite  clear.     A  little  pam 
phlet,  called  A  Brief  Reminiscence  of  Keshub  Chunder  Sen,1 
written  by  Miss  Pigot,  the  pioneer  Zenana  Missionary  of  the 
Church  of  Scotland,  who  was  most  intimate  with  Keshab  and 
his  family,  and  accompanied  the  little  bride  to  the  wedding, 
gives  a  clear  and  intelligible  account  of  all  that  happened. 

20.  Fourth  Period,  1878-1884:    Three  Sama^es:   Keshab 's 
New  Dispensation.    Most  of  the  missionaries,  a  number  of 

t,  — .    ^^-~--s^    -s^^^w 

outstanding  men  and  a  section  of  the  rank  and  file  held  by 
Keshab,  but  the  major  portion  of  the  membership  went  out. 
All  the  provincial  Samajes  were  consulted,  and  the  majority 
fell  in  with  the  new  movement.  The  name  chosen  was  the 
1  Published  in  Calcutta  in  1910. 


PLATE   III 


KESHAB  CHANDRA  SEX 


MOVEMENTS    FAVOURING   VIGOROUS    REFORM     55 

Sadharan  Brahma  Samaj ;  and  great  care  was  taken  to  or 
ganize  the  society  in  a  representative  way,  so  as  to  avoid  the 
single-man  government  and  the  consequent  changes  of  teach 
ing  which  had  caused  so  much  trouble  in  the  old  body.  The 
word  sddharan  means  "general,"  and  is  clearly  meant  to  sug 
gest  that  the  society  is  catholic  and  democratic. \  With  regard 
to  doctrine  and  practice,  they  were  anxious  to  continue  the 
old  theistic  teaching  and  the  social  service  and  philanthropy 
which  had  characterized  Keshab's  Samaj  to  begin  with.  K  They 
were  especially  eager  to  go  forward  with  female  education.  It 
was  the  easier  tc  organize  a  representative  government  and  to 
secure  continuity  of  teaching,  because,  while  there  were  many 
able  men  among  them,  there  was  no  outstanding  leader.  Of 
the  four  missionaries  appointed  the  most  prominent  was 
Pandit  Siva  Nath  Sastrl.  On  the  22nd  of  January,  1881, 
their  new  building  in  Cornwallis  Street  was  opened. 

Yet,  despite  the  great  schism,  Keshab  retained  the  primacy 
in  Brahmaism  by  sheer  genius  and  force  of  character  until  his 
death  in  1884.  His  achievements  during  the  last  six  years 
of  his  life  are  very  remarkable,  the  extraordinary  freshness  of 
his  thinking  and  writing,  and  the  many  new  elements  he  in 
troduced  into  his  work.  Yet,  though  very  brilliant,  these 
innovations  have  not  proved  nearly  so  fruitful  and  lasting  as 
his  early  contributions  to  the  cause.  They  will  be  more 
intelligible  grouped  under  three  heads,  than  set  out  in  chron 
ological  order. 

21.  The  first  group  comes  under  the  head  of  his  own  phrase, 
the  New  Dispensation.  For  some  years  it  had  been  clear  that 
he  thought  of  himself  as  having  a  special  divine  commission. 
That  idea  now  becomes  explicit.  There  have  been  a  number 
of  divine  dispensations  in  the  past :  he  is  now  the  divinely 
appointed  leader  of  the  New  Dispensation,  in  which  all  reli 
gions  are  harmonized,  and  which  all  men  are  summoned  to 
enter  as  their  spiritual  home.  He  and  his  missionaries  are 


56     MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN    INDIA 

the  apostles  of  this  new  and  universal  church.  But  this  claim, 
which,  if  logically  carried  out,  would  have  set  him,  as  the 
centre  of  the  final  religion  of  all  time,  far  above  Christ,  Buddha, 
Muhammad  and  every  other  leader,  is  crossed  and  hindered 
by  two  other  thoughts,  each  of  which  influenced  him  power 
fully  during  the  last  section  of  his  life ;  first,  the  idea  that  all 
religions  are  true,  which  he  took  over  from  Ramakrishna 
Paramahamsa,  and,  secondly,  a  belief  in  the  supremacy 
of  Christ  as  the  God-man.  Consequently,  all  his  teaching 
about  the  New  Dispensation  lacks  consistency  and  grip. 

On  the  anniversary  day  in  January  in_i88i_he  appeared  on 
the  platform,  with  twelve  of  his  missionaries  around  him, 
under  a  new  red  banner,  on  which  were  inscribed  the  words 
Naba  Bidhan  (Njva^Vtdhgga),  that  is,  Nej^Dis^ensati^n,  and 
/also  an  extraordinary  syjnbpl  made  up  of  the  Hindii^tridejit, 
?the  Christian^cross  and  the  crescent  ofj[slam.     On  the  table 
Hay  the  Scriptures  of  the  four  greatest  religions  of  the  world, 
'Hinduism,   Buddhism,   Christianity  and  Muhammadanism. 
•  Four  of  the  apostles  were  specially  appointed  that  each  might 
) study  the  Scriptures  of  one  of  these  religions.     Henceforward, 
\the  phrase  Brahma  Samaj  falls  into  the  background,  and 
s  Keshab's  body  is  known  as  The  Church  of  the  New  Dispensation. 
Feeling  now  more  confident  of  his  own  inspiration,  he  fre 
quently  issued  proclamations  in  the  name  of  God,  calling  upon 
all  men  to  accept  the  New  Dispensation,  and  pronouncing 
those  who  had  left  him  infidels,  apostates  and  disobedient 
men.     In  keeping  with  the  universality  ascribed  to  the  New 
Dispensation,  the  faithful  were  exhorted  to  turn  their  thoughts 
to  the  great  men  of  all  nations.     One  of  the  methods  employed 
was  to  go  on  pilgrimage  in  imagination  to  see  one  of  the  great 
ones,  and  to  spend  some  time  in  meditation  on  his  teaching, 
achievements  and  virtues.     Men  and  women  were  formed  into 
orders  of  various  kinds,  and  solemn  vows  were  laid  upon  them. 
22.  The  second  group  of  innovations  comes  from  Hinduism. 


MOVEMENTS    FAVOURING    VIGOROUS    REFORM     57 

How  far  Keshab  had  moved  from  his  early  theism  may  be 
seen  from  the  following  facts.  In  his  early  days  he  was  a 
stern  theist,  and  vehemently  denounced  polytheism  and 
idolatry  of  every  type.  He  was  seriously  opposed  to  all 
coquetting  with  other  systems,  believing  that  it  was  dangerous. 
When  Mr.  Sasipada  Banerjea  founded  at  Baranagar,  near 
Calcutta,  in  1823,  /the  Sddhdrana  Dharma  Sabhd,  i.e.  the 

^  the  platform  of  which  was? 

open  to  Hindu/  Buddhists,  Muslims  and  Christians  as  well? 
as  to  Brahmas,  Keshab  roundly  cojidemned  it,  as  the  follow 
ing  sentences  from  his  own  paper  show  : 

We  cannot  but  regard  this  new  Society  as  a  solemn  sham  . 
before  God  and  man.     The  members  seem  to  have  no   fixed 
religioj/in  them,  and,  in  endeavouring  to  commend  every  creed,  ' 
they  yonly  betray  their  anxiety  to  mock  and  insult  everything  $ 
sacred.     Such   dishonest   latitudinarianism   ought    to   be   put 


lut  somewhere  about  1875  Keshab  made  the  acquaintance  of 
IJjnakrishna,  and  thereafter  saw  him  frequently  and  listened 
with  great  pleastrr^ndinterest  to  his  teaching.  Now  one  of 
the  most  outstanding  me^voQhat  gifted  man  was  this,  that 
all^rcligions  jrcjnie.2  In  Januar}>-i88i,  the  New  Dispensa 
tion  was  formally  announced,  as  described  above;  and  in 
the  Sunday  Mirror  of  October  23rd  the  following  sentences 
appeared  : 

Our  position  is  not  that  truths  are  to  be  found  in  all  religions  ;| 
but  that  all  the  established  religions  of  the  world  are  true.l 
There  is  a  great  deal  of  difference  between  the  two  assertions,  f 

The  glorious  mission  of  the  New  Dispensation  is  to  har-j 
monise  religions  and  revelations,  to  establish  the  truth  of  every  j 
particular  dispensation,  and  upon  the  basis  of  these  particulars  / 

1  This  quotation  occurs  in  an  article  in  the  Indian  Mirror  of  Oct.  isth, 
1896,  called  Prof.  Max  M  idler  on  the  Paramhansa. 

2  P.  197,  below. 


58     MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN    INDIA 

to  establish  the  largest  and  broadest  induction  of  a  general  and 
glorious  proposition.  1 


One  of  Ramakrishna's  friends  had  a  pjcture^airrted 

ing  the  dependence  of  Keshab  on  Ramakrishna  in  this  matter. 

It  is  dealt  with  below.2 

It  was  doubtless  this  idea,  that  all  religions  are  true,  and 
that  their  harmony  can  be  demonstrated,  which  prompted 
Keshab  to  adopt  a  number  of  ceremonies  from  both  Hinduism 
and  Christianity  and  to  seek  so  to  interpret  a  great  deal  of 
Hindu  doctrine  and  practice  as  to  make  it  appear  consistent 
with  theism.  He  called  God  Mother.  He  adopted  the  homa 
sacrifice  and  the  aratl  ceremony  (the  waving  of  lights)  into 
Brahma  ritual.  He  expounded  polytheism  and  idolatry  as  if 
they  were  variant  forms  of  theism.  He  found  spiritual  nour 
ishment  in  the  Durga  Puja,  i.e.  the  annual  festival  held  in 
October  in  Bengal  in  honour  of  the  demon-slaying  Durga,  the 
blood-thirsty  wife  of  Siva.  In  imitation  of  the  108  names  of 
Vishnu,  a  Sanskrit  hymn  of  praise,  recounting  108  names  of 
God,  was  composed,  and  became  an  integral  part  of  the  lit 
urgy  of  his  Church.3  Chaitanya's  religious  dance  was  intro 
duced  to  express  religious  joy.4  Prayers  were  addressed  to 
the  Ganges,  to  the  moon  and  to  fire,  as  creatures  of  God  and 
expressions  of  His  power  and  His  will. 

23.  The  thmljyroinojD^^  from^Christianity. 

Baptism  and  the  Lord's  Supper  were  both  introduced  into 
New  Dispensation  ritual.  But  of  far  more  importance  than 
these  ceremonies  were  the  new  pieces  of  Christian  doctrine 
adopted,  above  all,  certain  new  convictions  about  the  person 
of  Christ. 

Ram  Mohan  Ray  recognized  clearly  that  Christ  had  a  great 
contribution  to  make  to  Indian  religion.  He  believed  that 

1  1  owe  these  quotations  to  HBS.,  II,  96.  3  HBS.,  II,  66. 

2  P.  198.  4P.  293,  below. 


MOVEMENTS    FAVOURING    VIGOROUS    REFORM     59 

the  ancient  Vedanta  was  all  that  India  needed  in  the  way  of 
theology ;  but  in  the  matter  of  ethics  he  saw  the  supremacy 
of  Jesus ;  and  in  The  Precepts  of  Jesus 1  he  laid  the  ethical 
teaching  of  Christ  before  his  fellow-countrymen,  and  told 
them  plainly  that  they  required  to  study  it  and  live  by  it.  To 
him  these  precepts  were  the  path  to  peace  and  happiness. 

Keshab  from  the  very  beginning  realized  the  truth  which 
Ram  Mohan  had  expressed ;  but,  even  in  his  early  lectures,  he 
went  far  beyond  Ram  Mohan's  standpoint,  and  that  in  three 
directions. 

a.  The  first  of  these  is  the  reo)gnitipji_of^^  the 

charactero^_Chnst,  and  its  value  as  an  example  to  man.  We 
quote  from  Keshab's  lecture,  Jesus  Christ:  Europe  and  Asia: 

What  moral  serenity  and  sweetness  pervade  his  life  !  What 
extraordinary  tenderness  and  humility  —  what  lamb-like  meek 
ness  and  simplicity !  His  heart  was  full  of  mercy  and  for 
giving  kindness :  friends  and  foes  shared  his  charity  and  love. 
And  yet,  on  the  other  hand,  how  resolute,  firm,  and  unyielding 
in  his  adherence  to  truth !  He  feared  no  mortal  man,  and 
braved  even  death  itself  for  the  sake  of  truth  and  God.  Verily, 
when  we  read  his  life,  his  meekness,  like  the  soft  moon,  ravishes 
the  heart  and  bathes  it  in  a  flood  of  serene  light ;  but  when  we 
come  to  the  grand  consummation  of  his  career,  his  death  on 
the  cross,  behold  he  shines  as  the  powerful  sun  in  its  meridian 
splendour ! 

Christ  tells  us  to  forgive  our  enemies,  yea,  to  bless  them  that 
curse  us,  and  pray  for  them  that  despitefully  use  us ;  he  tells 
us,  when  one  smites  the  right  cheek,  to  turn  the  left  towards 
him.  Who  can  adequately  conceive  this  transcendent  charity  ? 
The  most  impressive  form  in  which  it  practically  manifests  it 
self  is  in  that  sweet  and  tender  prayer  which  the  crucified  Jesus 
uttered  in  the  midst  of  deep  agony  —  "Father,  forgive  them, 
for  they  know  not  what  they  do."  2 

1  P.  32,  above.  2  Lectures  in  India,  25-6. 


60     MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN    INDIA 

b.  The  second  is  thesense^o^jin  and  all  it  leads  to.    We 
quote  from  the  historian  of  the  Brahma  Samaj.    He  remarks : 

Keshub  Chunder  opened  his  heart  to  the  Christian  spirit, 
and  it  begat  a  sense  of  sin  and  the  spirit  of  earnest  prayer.1 

The  infusion  of  the  Christian  spirit  brought  into  the  field 
another  characteristic  Christian  sentiment,  namely,  an  enthu 
siasm  for  saving  fellow-sinners  by  carrying  to  them  the  new 
gospel.  .  .  .  The  spirit  of  utter  self-surrender  in  which  the 
new  missionaries  took  up  their  work  after  the  schism  was  a 
wonder  to  all.  .  .  .  Amongst  the  new  principles  imbibed  from 
the  study  of  the  life  of  Christ  was  one,  "Take  no  thought  for 
the  morrow,"  which  they  wanted  to  carry  literally  into  prac 
tice.  .  .  .  Their  young  wives,  most  of  them  below  twenty, 
touched  by  the  new  enthusiasm,  shared  in  all  their  privations 
with  a  cheerful  alacrity.  The  memory  of  these  days  will  ever 
remain  in  our  minds  as  a  truly  apostolic  period  of  Brahmo  his 
tory,  when  there  was  a  spirit  of  real  asceticism  without  that 
talk  of  it,  in  which  the  Church  abounded  in  subsequent  times.2 

c.  The  third  is  the  Christian  attitude  to  social  life.    We 
again  quote  from  the  history : 

Mr.  Sen  tried  to  view  social  questions  from  the  standpoint 
of  pure  and  spiritual  faith,  making  the  improvement  of  their 
social  life  an  accessory  to  men's  progress  in  spiritual  life.  Social 
reform  naturally  came  as  a  part  of  that  fundamental  concep 
tion.  Under  the  influence  of  their  leader  the  progressive  party 
tried  to  abjure  those  social  abuses  that  tended  to  degrade  society 
or  encourage  vice  or  injustice.  The  conviction  became  strong 
in  them  that  it  was  only  by  raising  and  ennobling  man's  social 
life  that  a  pure  and  spiritual  religion  like  theism  could  establish 
itself  as  a  social  and  domestic  faith  of  man  and  convert  human 
society  into  a  household  of  God.  This  conviction  took  firm 
possession  of  Mr.  Sen's  mind  and  he  unfurled  the  banner  of 
social  reform  by  systematic  efforts  for  the  abolition  of  caste 

.,  I,  133.  2/&.,  I,  209-11. 


MOVEMENTS    FAVOURING    VIGOROUS    REFORM     61 

and  also  by  trying  to  communicate  new  light  and  new  life  to 
our  womanhood. 

We  may  justly  ascribe  this  passion  for  social  reform  to  the 
influence  of  Mr.  Sen's  Christian  studies.  The  reason  for  my 
ascribing  it  to  Christian  influence  is  that  it  is  so  unlike  the 
Hindu  teaching  on  the  subject,  with  which  we  are  familiar.1 

These  three  aspects  of  Christ  scarcely  appear  in  Ram 
Mohan's  teaching,  but  they  were  the  very  pith  and  marrow  of 
Keshab's  doctrine.  Indeed,  as  the  last  extracts  shew,  they 
were  the  source  of  all  the  life  and  vigour  which  Keshab  suc 
ceeded  in  pouring  into  his  missionaries  and  followers  during 
the  first  twenty  years  of  his  public  life.  This  fact  was  very 
vividly  present  to  Keshab's  mind.  Here  are  his  own  words : 

Christ  has  been  my  study  for  a  quarter  of  a  century.  That 
God-Man  — they  say  half  God  and  half  man  —  walks  daily 
all  over  this  vast  peninsula,  from  the  Himalayas  to  Cape  Co- 
morin,  enlightening  and  sanctifying  its  teeming  millions.  He 
is  a  mighty  reality  in  Indian  history.  He  is  to  us  a  living  and 
moving  spirit.  We  see  him  and  commune  with  him.  He 
permeates  society  as  a  vital  force,  and  imbues  our  daily  life, 
and  is  mixed  with  our  thoughts,  speculations  and  pursuits.2 

24.  But  from  1879  onward  there  is  a  further  advance. 
Thus  far  Christ  had  been  to  Keshab  only  a  religious  leader, 
distinctly  the  greatest  of  all  the  prophets,  but  irTno  sense 
divine.  From  now  the  problem  of  the  person  of  Christ  oc 
cupies  a  large  place  in  his  mind.  He  began  the  discussion  of 
the  question  in  his  lecture,  India  asks:  Who  is  Christ?  de 
livered  in  1879.  He  starts  from  the  words,  "I  and  My 
Father  are  one,"  and  explains  them  as  follows : 

Christ  really  believed  that  he  and  his  Father  were  one,  or 
he  would  not  have  said  so.  He  spoke  the  truth,  unmixed  and 
pure  truth,  when  he  announced  this  fact.  "I  can  of  mine 

1  HBS.,  I,  296-7.  2  Lectures  in  India,  330. 


62     MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN    INDIA 
own  self  do  nothing,"  "I  am  in  my  Father,  and  my  Father  in 


I  am,  therefore,  bound  to  admit  that  Christ  really  believed 
that  he 'and  his  Father  were  one.  When  I  come  to  analyse 
this  doctrine,  I  find  in  it  nothing  but  the  philosophical  principle 
underlying  the  popular  doctrine  of  self-abnegation,  —  self- 
abnegation  in  a  very  lofty  spiritual  sense.1 

Therefore,  I  say  this  wonderful  man  had  no  thought  what 
ever  of  self,  and  lived  in  God.  This  unique  character  of  com 
plete  self-surrender  is  the  most  striking  miracle  in  the  world's 
history  which  I  have  seen,  and  which  it  is  possible  for  the  mind 
to  conceive.2 

He  declares  that  God  sent  Christ  to  be  the  perfect  example  of 
sonship  to  men : 

An  example  of  true  sonship  was  needed.  .  .  .  Perfect 
holiness  dwelt  in  the  Father,  the  eternal  fountain-head  of  all 
that  is  true,  and  good  and  beautiful.  It  comprehended  all 
manner  of  holiness.  It  had  in  it  the  germs  of  all  forms  of  vir 
tue  and  righteousness.  Purity  of  life  dwelt  in  Him  in  its  ful 
ness  and  integrity.  Out  of  this  substance  the  Lord  took  out 
only  one  form  of  purity,  that  which  applies  to  the  son  in  his 
relations  to  the  Father  and  his  brethren,  and  comprises  the  whole 
round  of  human  duties  and  virtues,  and  having  given  it  a  human 
shape,  said,  —  Go  and  dwell  thou  in  the  world  and  show  forth 
unto  nations  divine  sonship.3 

He  also  declares  that  Christ  fulfils  Hinduism : 

He  conies  to  fulfil  and  perfect  that  religion  of  communion 

I  for  which  India  has  been  panting,  as  the  hart  panteth  after  the 
waterbrooks.  Yes,  after  long  centuries  shall  this  communion 
be  perfected  through  Christ.4 

Then  in  his  lecture  on  the  Trinity,  in  1882,  Christ  is  definitely 
caUed  the  Logos,  the  Son  of  God,  the  second  person  of  the 
Trinity: 

1  Lectures  in  India,  245-6.  8  Ib.,  251-2. 

2/6.,  249.  </&.,  258. 


MOVEMENTS    FAVOURING    VIGOROUS    REFORM     63 

You  see  how  the  Lord  asserted  His  power  and  established 
His  dominion  in  the  material  and  the  animal  kingdom,  and 
then  in  the  lower  world  of  humanity.  When  that  was  done  the 
volume  of  the  Old  Testament  was  closed.  The  New  Testament 
commenced  with  the  birth  of  the  Son  of  God.  .  .  .  Having 
exhibited  itself  in  endless  varieties  of  progressive  existence, 
the  primary  creative  Force  at  last  took  the  form  of  the  Son 
in  Christ  Jesus.1 

Gentlemen,  look  at  this  clear  triangular  figure  with  the  eye 
of  faith,  and  study  its  deep  mathematics.  The  apex  is  the 
very  God  Jehovah,  the  Supreme  Brahma  of  the  Vedas.  Alone, 
in  His  own  eternal  glory,  He  dwells.  From  Him  comes  down 
the  Son  in  a  direct  line,  an  emanation  from  Divinity.  Thus 
God  descends  and  touches  one  end  of  the  base  of  humanity, 
then  running  all  along  the  base  permeates  the  world,  and  then 
by  the  power  of  the  Holy  Ghost  drags  up  regenerated  humanity 
to  Himself.  Divinity  coming  down  to  humanity  is  the  Son; 
Divinity  carrying  up  humanity  to  heaven  is  the  Holy  Ghost.2 

Through  Israel  came  the  First  Dispensation;  in  Christ  we 
have  the  Dispensation  of  the  Son;  while  Keshab's  own 
movement  is  the  Dispensation  of  the  Holy  Spirit : 

The  Old  Testament  was  the  First  Dispensation;  the  New 
Testament  the  Second ;  unto  us  in  these  days  has  been  vouch 
safed  the  Third  Dispensation.3 

25.  But  all  this  inevitably  raises  the  question,  How  could 
Keshab  teach  in  this  strain  and  yet  declare  all  religions  true, 
and  introduce  Hindu  ceremonies  into  the  ritual  of  his  services  ? 
—  There  is  only  one  way  of  accounting  for  it :  we  must  recog 
nize  that  Keshab  was  not  a  consistent  thinker,  far  less  a  sys 
tematic  theologian.  Illustrations  of  inconsistency  are  sown 
thick  in  his  lectures.  Thus  in  1876,  six  years  before  the 
lecture  on  the  Trinity,  while  he  was  still  pledged  to  the  doc 
trine  that  Christ  is  a  mere  man,  the  very  first  sentence  of  one 
of  his  lectures  runs : 

1H>.,&6.  *  Ib.,  338.  3  Ib.,  356. 


64     MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN    INDIA 

I  verily  believe  that,  when  Jesus  Christ  was  about  to  leave 
this  world,  he  made  over  the  sacred  portfolio  of  the  ministry 
of  his  Church  to  the  Holy  Spirit.1 

What  manner  of  man  is  this  who  stands  in  official  relations 
with  the  Spirit  of  the  Universe  ?  —  The  truth  is  that  he  was 
dazzled  with  the  glitter  of  Ramakrishna's  idea  of  the  harmony 
of  all  religions;  and,  having  once  accepted  the  thought,  he 
proceeded,  in  confidence  in  it,  to  attempt  to  hold  in  his  own 
mind,  at  the  same  moment,  the  essential  principles  of  Hin 
duism,  the  Christian  doctrine  of  the  Trinity,  and  his  own 
old  theism.  Perhaps  the  most  amazing  example  of  inconsist 
ency  occurs  within  the  limits  of  a  single  paragraph  in  his  lec 
ture  We  Apostles  of  the  New  Dispensation,  delivered  in  Janu 
ary,  1 88 1,  when  the  New  Dispensation  was  announced.  He 
first  sets  his  own  Dispensation  on  a  level  with  Christ's : 

Is  this  new  gospel  a  Dispensation,  or  is  it  simply  a  new  sys 
tem  of  religion,  which  human  understanding  has  evolved?  I 
say  it  stands  upon  the  same  level  with  the  Jewish  dispensation, 
the  Christian  dispensation,  and  the  Vaishnava  dispensation 
through  Chaitanya.  It  is  a  divine  Dispensation,  fully  entitled 
to  a  place  among  the  various  dispensations  and  revelations  of 
the  world.  But  is  it  equally  divine,  equally  authoritative? 
Christ's  Dispensation  is  said  to  be  divine.  I  say  that  this 
Dispensation  is  equally  divine.2 

He  then  sets  himself  on  a  level  with  Christ : 

If  Christ  was  the  centre  of  his  Dispensation,  am  I  not  the 
centre  of  this  ?  3 

And  immediately  thereafter  there  follows  this  most  touching 
piece  of  self-humiliation : 

Shall  a  sinner  vie  with  Christ  for  honours?  God  forbid. 
Jesus  was  a  born  saint,  and  I  am  a  great  sinner.  Blessed 
Jesus  !  I  am  thine.  I  give  myself,  body  and  soul,  to  thee.  If 

1  Lectures  in  India,  161.  2  /&.,  298.  3  76.,  299. 


MOVEMENTS    FAVOURING    VIGOROUS    REFORM     65 

India  will  revile  and  persecute  me,  and  take  my  life-blood  out 
of  me,  drop  by  drop,  still,  Jesus,  thou  shalt  continue  to  have  my 
homage.  I  have  taken  the  vow  of  loyalty  before  thee,  and  I 
will  not  swerve  from  it,  —  God  help  me  !  These  lips  are  thine 
for  praise,  and  these  hands  are  thine  in  service.  Son  of  God, 
I  love  thee  truly.  And,  though  scorned  and  hated  for  thy 
sake,  I  will  love  thee  always,  and  remain  an  humble  servant 
at  thy  blessed  feet.  Yet,  I  must  tell  you,  gentlemen,  that  I 
am  connected  with  Jesus'  Gospel,  and  occupy  a  prominent 
place  in  it.  I  am  the  prodigal  son  of  whom  Christ  spoke,  and 
I  am  trying  to  return  to  my  Father  in  a  penitent  spirit.  Nay, 
I  will  say  more  for  the  satisfaction  and  edification  of  my  op 
ponents.  I  am  not  Jesus,  but  I  am  Judas,  that  vile  man  who 
betrayed  Jesus  into  the  hands  of  his  infuriated  persecutors. 
That  man's  spirit  is  in  me.  The  veritable  Judas,  who  sinned 
against  truth  and  Jesus,  lodges  in  my  heart.  If  I  honour  Jesus, 
and  claim  a  place  among  his  disciples,  is  there  not  another  side 
of  my  life  which  is  carnal  and  worldly  and  sinful  ?  I  am  Judas- 
like  so  far  as  I  love  sin.  Then  tell  me  not  I  am  trying  to  exalt 
myself.  No.  A  prophet's  crown  sits  not  on  my  head.  My 
place  is  at  Jesus'  feet.1 

No  further  proof  is  wanted  of  the  unsystematic  character  of 
Keshab's  thinking.  Clearly,  he  had  not  worked  the  contents 
of  his  mind  into  any  kind  of  consistent  unity. 

26.  But  another  problem  remains,  his  relation  to  Christ. 
His  habitual  want  of  consistency  explains  how  he  could  hold 
self-contradictory  ideas,  but  the  extraordinary  place  which 
Christ  holds  in  his  teaching  needs  explanation.  The  needs  of 
the  time,  and  the  wonderful  way  in  which  the  teaching  of 
Christ  meets  them,  account  for  the  hold  which  Christ's  ethi 
cal  and  social  teaching  have  taken  of  the  Brahma  Samaj  as 
a  whole;  but  they  do  not  account  for  the  tenderness  and 
passion  which  mark  Keshab's  every  reference  to  Jesus  nor  for 
his  interest  in  the  problem  of  Christology.  The  simple  fact 
is  that  Keshab's  religious  experience  was  from  beginning  to 

1Ib.,  299. 


66     MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN    INDIA 

end  rooted  in  Christ;  and  he  was  thereby  driven  steadily 
forward,  steadily  nearer  an  adequate  account  of  Christ's 
person  and  His  relation  to  God.  His  lectures  show  quite 
clearly  that  his  religious  experience  depended  largely  on 
Christ: 

My  Christ,  my  sweet  Christ,  the  brightest  jewel  of  my  heart, 
the  necklace  of  my  soul  —  for  twenty  years  have  I  cherished 
him  in  this  my  miserable  heart.  Though  often  denied  and 
persecuted  by  the  world,  I  have  found  sweetness  and  joy  un 
utterable  in  my  master  Jesus.  .  .  .  The  mighty  artillery  of 
his  love  he  levelled  against  me,  and  I  was  vanquished,  and  I 
fell  at  his  feet.1 

The  Father  cannot  be  an  example  of  sonship.  Only  the 
Son  can  show  what  the  son  ought  to  be.  In  vain  do  I  go  to 
the  Vedas  or  to  Judaism  to  learn  sonship.  That  I  learn  at  the 
feet  of  my  sweet  Christ,  my  Father's  beloved  Son.2 

All  over  my  body,  all  through  my  inner  being  I  see  Christ. 
He  is  no  longer  to  me  a  doctrine  or  a  dogma,  but  with  Paul  I 
cry,  For  me  to  live  is  Christ.  .  .  .  Christ  is  my  food  and  drink, 
and  Christ  is  the  water  that  cleanses  me.3 

There  can  be  no  doubt  as  to  the  meaning  of  these  words.. 
Further,  the  solution  of  the  problem  of  the  three  amazing 
passages  quoted  on  page  64  lies  here,  that  in  his  theory  of 
the  New  Dispensation  we  have  his  loose  but  brilliant  think 
ing,  while  in  the  touching  sentences  where  he  contrasts 
himself  with  Christ  we  have  a  living  transcript  from  his  reli 
gious  experience.  Practically  every  difficulty  which  Keshab's 
life  presents  to  the  student  (and  they  are  not  few)  becomes 
comprehensible  when  we  realize  to  the  full  these  two  facts : 
he  was  not  a  systematic,  thinker,  and  his  religious  experience 
sprang  from  Christ. 

But  we  may  go  one  step  farther  still.  Keshab's  richest 
religious  experience  came  from  Christ,  and,  in  consequence, 
in  the  latter  part  o'f  his  life,  his  deepest  theological  beliefs 

1  Lectures  in  India,  260.  2  Ib.,  344.  3  Ib.,  393. 


MOVEMENTS    FAVOURING    VIGOROUS    REFORM     67 

were  fully  Christian,  but  he  never  surrendered  himself  to 
Christ  as  Lord.  He  retained  the  government  of  his  life  in 
his  own  hands.  I  also  believe  that  this  is  the  only  way  in 
which  we  can  explain  the  spiritual  experience  of  his  friend  and 
biographer,  Pratap  Chandra  Mozoomdar,  and  of  two  or  three 
others  of  the  missionaries. 

The  theological  position  of  these  men  stands  out  quite 
clear  from  a  number  of  facts. 

The  late  Registrar  of  Calcutta  University,  Mr.  K.  C. 
Banurji,  a  Bengali  Christian  universally  loved  and  respected, 
was  very  intimate  with  Keshab;  and  he  maintained,  with 
great  consistency  and  earnestness,  that  Keshab  died  a  Chris 
tian.  Had  Mr.  Banurji  been  an  ordinary  man,  it  might  have 
been  said  that  he  had  been  misled  by  some  chance  expression, 
such  as  one  meets  in  Keshab's  published  writings,  and  the 
inconsistency  of  which  the  leader  was  so  often  guilty  would 
have  been  sufficient  explanation.  But  Mr.  Banurji  was  no 
ordinary  man ;  and  he  had  no  hazy,  indistinct  conception  of 
Christian  faith.  He  had  followed  Keshab's  history  closely 
for  many  years,  and  was  most  intimate  with  him.  It  is  thus 
certain  that,  in  conversation  with  Mr.  Banurji,  Keshab  gave 
expression  to  a  full,  clear,  distinct  faith  in  Jesus  Christ. 

Mr.  P.  C.  Mozoomdar,  one  day,  had  a  long  unhurried  con 
versation  with  a  friend  of  the  writer,  a  missionary  in  the  North. 
In  the  course  of  the  talk  my  friend  gave  expression  to  the  deep 
est  convictions  of  his  Christian  life.  Mr.  Mozoomdar  assured 
him  that  his  own  faith,  and  Keshab's  also,  was  precisely  the 
same,  and  said  that  the  reason  why  he  and  Keshab  did  not 
give  public  expression  to  these  beliefs  was  that  they  held  they 
would  be  more  likely  to  bring  their  fellow-countrymen  to  full 
faith  in  Christ  by  a  gradual  process  than  by  a  sudden  declara 
tion  of  all  they  believed.1 

1  He  must  have  spoken  in  the  same  way  in  South  India.  Madras  Decen 
nial  Miss.  Con}.  Report,  310. 


68     MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN    INDIA 

Some  eleven  or  twelve  years  ago,  in  a  brief  article,  I  had 
ignorantly  spoken  of  all  Brahmas  as  Unitarians.  In  a  cour 
teous  note,  the  only  letter  I  ever  received  from  Mr.  Mozoom- 
dar,  he  protested  against  the  statement  so  far  as  the  Church 
of  the  New  Dispensation  was  concerned,  declaring  himself 
and  his  fellow-believers  to  be  Trinitarians.  During  the  last 
twenty  years  articles  have  frequently  appeared  in  the  pages 
of  Unity  and  the  Minister  (a  weekly  published  under  the  New 
Dispensation) ,  which,  if  taken  seriously  from  the  standpoint 
of  theology,  undoubtedly  imply  the  full  Christian  faith.  My 
own  personal  intercourse  with  several  of  the  leaders  would 
also  tend  to  prove  that  they  had  learned  from  Keshab  to  re 
gard  Christ  as  the  Son  of  God  and  the  Saviour. 

Yet,  so  far  as  my  experience  and  reading  reach,  there  is  no 
evidence  that  these  men  ever  allowed  their  faith  to  rule  their 
life.  There  was  never  the  full  surrender  of  the  soul  to  the 
Saviour.  There  was  something  that  restrained.  They  re 
garded  Jesus  as  the  eternal  Son,  but  they  lived  the  life  of 
theists,  following  now  one  master,  now  another.  An  incident 
in  Keshab 's  life  fits  in  well  with  this  judgment.  One  of  the 
missionaries  of  the  New  Dispensation,  who  was  very  intimate 
with  him,  and  who  believed  that  he  was  a  servant  of  Christ 
and  would  remain  such  to  the  end,  went  to  see  the  great  leader 
as  he  lay  dvjng  in  his  home,  Lily  Cottage,  Calcutta.  He 
found  him  rolling  on  his  bed  in  great  pain,  crying  aloud  in 
prayer  to  God  in  Bengali.  Great  was  his  friend's  astonish 
ment  to  catch  the  following  words  repeated  over  and  over 
again: 

Buddher  Ma,  Sakyer  Ma,  nirban  dao, 

\i.e.  "  Mother  of  Buddha,  Mother  of  the  Sakyan,  grant  me 
^Nirvana."  What  an  extraordinary  mixture  of  ideas  this  sen- 
f  tence  bears  witness  to  !  Thus  Keshab's  deepest  convictions 
'  were  Christian  beliefs,  yet  he  was  not  a  Christian. 


MOVEMENTS    FAVOURING    VIGOROUS    REFORM    69 

He  passed  away  on  the  8th  of  January,  1884,  leaving  his 
Samaj  shepherdless. 

27.  Fifth  Period,  188^-1^13 :  th^Sadha^ 
It  has  been  already  stated  that,  from  the  beginning,  there 
were  disputes,  and  even  quarrels,  among  the  missionaries, 
which  Keshab  found  it  difficult  to  control.     One  day,  in  Lily 
Cottage,  when  some  little  difference  of  this  kind  was  being 
talked  about,  Keshab  pointed  to  a  velvet  pincushion,  and  said, 
"You  are  like  the  pins,  united  in  the  pincushion.    When  I 
am  taken  away,  there  will  be  nothing  to  hold  you  together." 
The  words  were  prophetic.     Ever  since  the  leader's  death,  his 
whole  following  has  been  reduced  to  the  utmost  weakness  by 
the  quarrels  of  the  missionaries.     There  are  ttee^sub-cUyi-  , 
sions,  each  of  which  holds  a  separate  service  on  Sunday,  and  ^ 
there  are  individuals  who  will  unite  with  none.     But  it  is  not 
personal  differences  only  that  have  led  to  this  state  of  affairs ; 
the  irreconcilable  elements    in    the  leader's  teaching,  now 
held  by  different  minds,  render  real  union  impossible.     It  was 
largely  because  P.  C.  Mozoomdar  was  so  much  of  a  Christian 
that  his  brethren  refused  to  make  him  their  leader.    The 
tendency  to  make  Keshab  an  inspired  guru,  which  led  to  the 
Kuch-Bihar  marriage  and  the  great  secession,  operated  most 
disastrously.     After  his  death  one  party  declared  that  he  was 
still  their  leader,  and  that  no  one  could  ever  take  his  place  in 
the  Samaj  building,  while  the  others  opposed  vehemently. 
Some  still  keep  up  this  foolish  idea.     They  call  the  anniver 
sary  of  his  death  the  day  of  "  the  Master's  Ascension  "  ; 1  and 
the  room  in  which  he  died,  kept  precisely  as  it  was  then,  is 
i  entered  reverently,  as  if  it  were  a  shrine.     For  nine  and  twenty 
}  years  the  Samaj  has  been  dismembered  and  rendered  impo- 
i  tent  by  divisions  and  brawls ;  and  there  is  no  sign  of  better 
ment. 

28.  The  Adj_Brahma  Samaj  stillholds Readily  on,  but  there 

1 A  recent  book  calls  him  "  God-man  Keshub  "  and  "  Lord  and  Master." 


70     MODERN    RELIGIOUS   MOVEMENTS    IN    INDIA 

are  few  members  apart  from  the  family  of  Debendra  Nath 
Tagore.  The  saintly  old  leader  lived  to  the  age  of  eighty- 
seven,  passing  away  inUgo^  After  his  death  a  fragment  of 
an  ^jobio^ra^hy^n^B^^.  was  published,  and  later  still 
was  translated  into  English  by  one  of  his  sons.  It  is  a  very 
modest  document  but  contains  a  remarkable  spiritual  record. 
It  is  one  of  the  most  valuable  pieces  of  literature  the  Adi 
Samaj  has  produced.  Debendra's  fourth  son,  Mr^Jlabmdra 
Nath^Tagore,  now  so  famous  as  a  poet,1  frequently  preaches 
in  the  building. 

29.  The  Sadharan^^lmi^a^naj,  on  the  other  hand,  has 
(made  steady,  solid  progress  since  its  formation  in  1878.  It  has 
.now  a  large  body  of  members  and  adherents  in  Calcutta,  and 
:  its  services  are  well  attended.  Most  of  the  provincial  Samajes 
( are  connected  with  it.  It  is  the  only  section  of  the  Brahma 
j  Samaj  whose  missionaries  are  able  from  time  to  time  to  go  on 
.preaching  tours.  It  is  a  living,  effective  body,  though  not 
I  large.  Its  history  need  not  detain  us.  A  brief  sketch  of  its 
'organization  and  its  teaching  must  suffice. 

The  Samaj  is  under  the  control  of  a  General  Committee  of  a 
hundred  members  elected  both  from  Calcutta  and  the  prov 
inces.  The  President,  the  Secretary  with  three  Assistant 
Secretaries,  and  the  Treasurer,  together  with  thirteen  others 
chosen  by  the  General  Committee  from  among  its  members, 
form  the  Executive.  This  form  of  organization  has  suc 
ceeded  in  making  the  government  of  the  Samaj  representative 
and  democratic.  This  body  governs  the  Sadharan  Brahma 
Samaj  of  Calcutta  and  its  missionaries,  and  also  bears  rela 
tions  to  the  majority  of  the  provincial  Samajes.  Forty-one 
of  the  provincial  Samajes  are  called  "Associated  Samajes": 
they  pay  a  certain  annual  subscription  to  the  central  body, 
and  are  entitled  to  receive  help  from  the  missionaries.  The 
majority  of  the  other  Samajes  are  in  fellowship  with  the  Sad- 
1  P.  383,  below. 


MOVEMENTS    FAVOURING    VIGOROUS    REFORM     71 

haran  Samaj  of  Calcutta,  although  some  have  closer  relations 
with  the  Adi  Samaj  or  the  New  Dispensation  or  the  Prarthana 
Samaj  in  Bombay. 

The  bulk  of  the  work  of  the  Samaj  is  carried  on  by  the  nine 
missionaries ;  but  a  good  deal  is  also  done  by  the  Sevak  Man- 
dali  or  Circle  of  Laymen.  The  heaviest  work  undertaken  is 
the  tours  made  in  the  provinces  by  the  missionaries,  to 
strengthen  existing  work  and  win  new  adherents.  Apart  from 
these,  the  chief  forms  of  effort  are  the  Sunday  Services  in  the 
building,  the  Students'  Weekly  Service,  the  Sangat  Sabha  (a 
sort  of  Methodist  Class  Meeting),  the  Working  Men's  Mission 
at  Baranagar,  near  Calcutta,  the  Brahmo  Young  Men's  Union, 
and  the  Samaj  newspapers,  the  Indian  Messenger  and  the 
Tattva  Kaumudi.  The  Calcutta  congregation  has  more  than 
800  members  and  a  very  large  number  of  adherents.  The 
mission  on  the  Khasi  Hills  in  Assam  is  perhaps  the  most  not 
able  piece  of  work  being  done  outside  Calcutta.  The  Khasis 
are  a  very  simple  race,  who  had  no  education  or  literature 
until  the  Welsh  Calvinistic  Mission  waked  them  to  an  alto 
gether  new  life.  The  Brahmas  have  won  some  fifty  families. 

In  IQII  there  were  183  Brahma  Samajes  in  India ;  and  5504 1. 
persons  were  entered  as  Brahmas  in  the  Census. 

30.  The  following  is  a  brief  summary  of  the  beliefs  of  the 
Adi  Samaj l : 

(1)  God  is  a  personal  being  with  sublime  moral  attributes. 

(2)  God  has  never  become  incarnate. 

(3)  God  hears  and  answers  prayer. 

(4)  God  is  to  be  worshipped  only  in  spiritual  ways.     Hindu 
asceticism,  temples,  and  fixed  forms  of  worship  are  unnecessary. 
Men  of  all  castes  and  races  may  worship  God  acceptably. 

(5)  Repentance  and  cessation  from  sin  is  the  only  way  to 
forgiveness  and  salvation. 

(6)  Nature  and  Intuition  are  the  sources  of  knowledge  of 
God.    No  book  is  authoritative. 

1  ERE.,  II,  8 1 6. 


72      MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN    INDIA 

The  following  is  the  official  statement  of  the  principles  of 

the  Sadlmran  Samaj 1 : 

(1)  There  is  only  one  God,  who  is  the  Creator,  Preserver 
and  Saviour  of  this  world.     He  is  spirit ;  He  is  infinite  in  power, 
wisdom,  love,  justice  and  holiness ;   He  is  omnipresent,  eternal 
and  blissful. 

(2)  The  human  soul  is  immortal,  and  capable  of   infinite 
progress,  and  is  responsible  to  God  for  its  doings. 

(3)  God  is  to  be  worshipped  in  spirit  and  in  truth.     Divine 
worship  is  necessary  for  attaining  true  felicity  and  salvation. 

(4)  To  love  God  and  to  carry  out  His  will  in  all  the  concerns 
of  life  constitute  true  worship. 

(5)  Prayer  and  dependence  on  God  and  a  constant  realisation 
of  His  presence  are  the  means  of  attaining  spiritual  growth. 

(6)  No  created  object  is  to  be  worshipped  as  God,  nor  is 
any  person  or  book  to  be  considered  as  infallible  and  as  the  sole 
means  of  salvation ;  but  truth  is  to  be  reverently  accepted  from 
all  scriptures  and  from  the  teaching  of  all  persons  without  dis 
tinction  of  creed  or  country. 

(7)  The  Fatherhood  of  God  and  the  Brotherhood  of  man 
and  kindness  to  all  living  beings  are  the  essence  of  true  religion. 

(8)  God  rewards  virtue,  and  punishes  sin.     His  punishments 
are  remedial  and  not  eternal. 

(9)  Cessation  from  sin  accompanied  by  sincere  repentance 
is  the  only  atonement  for  it ;   and  union  with  God  in  wisdom, 
goodness  and  holiness  is  true  salvation. 

The  following  statement  of  the  faith  and  principles  of  the 
New  Dispensation  is  from  Keshab's  Laws  of  Life:2 

(1)  God.     I  believe  that  God  is  one,  that  He  is  infinite  and 
perfect,    almighty,    all-wise,    all-merciful,    all-holy,    all-blissful, 
eternal  and  omnipresent,  our  Creator,  Father,  Mother,  Friend, 
Guide,  Judge  and  Saviour. 

(2)  Soul.     I  believe  that  the  soul  is  immortal  and  eternally 
progressive. 

1  From  the  Report  for  1910. 

2  Published  in  the  World  and  New  Dispensation,  of  July  27,  1910. 


MOVEMENTS    FAVOURING    VIGOROUS    REFORM     73 

(3)  Spiritual  Law.     I  believe  in  natural  inspiration,  general 
and  special.     I  believe  in  providence,  general  and  special. 

(4)  Moral  Law.    I  believe  in  God's  moral  law  as  revealed 
through  the  commandments  of  conscience,  enjoining  perfect 
righteousness  in  all  things.    I  believe  that  I  am  accountable 
to  God  for  the  faithful  discharge  of  my  manifold  duties  and 
that  I  shall  be  judged  and  rewarded  and  punished  for  my  vir 
tues  and  vices  here  and  hereafter. 

(5)  Scriptures.     I  accept  and  revere  the  scriptures  so  far 
as  they  are  records  of  the  wisdom  and  devotion  and  piety  of 
inspired  geniuses  and  of  the  dealings  of  God's  special  providence 
in  the  salvation  of  nations,  of  which  records  only  the  Spirit  is 
God's,  but  the  letter  man's. 

(6)  Prophets.    I  accept  and  revere  the  world's  prophets 
and  saints  so  far  as  they  embody  and  reflect  the  different  ele 
ments  of  divine  character,  and  set  forth  the  higher  ideals  of 
life  for  the  instruction  and  sanctification  of  the  world.     I  ought 
to  revere  and  love  and  follow  all  that  is  divine  in  them,  and  try 
to  assimilate  it  to  my  soul,  making  what  is  theirs  and  God's 
mine. 

(7)  Church.    I  believe  in  the  Church  Universal  which  is 
the  deposit  of  all  ancient  wisdom  and  the  receptacle  of  all 
modern  science,  which  recognises  in  all  prophets  and  saints  a 
harmony,  in  all  scriptures  a  unity  and  through  all  dispensations 
a  continuity,  which  abjures  all  that  separates  and  divides  and 
always  magnifies  unity  and  peace,  which  harmonises  reason 
and  faith,  yoga  and  bkakti,  asceticism  and  social  duty  in  their 
highest  forms,  and  which  shall  make  of  all  nations  and  sects 
one  kingdom  and  one  family  in  the  fulness  of  time. 

(8)  Synopsis.     My  creed  is  the  science  of  God  which  en- 
lighteneth  all.     My  gospel  is  the  love  of  God  which  saveth  all. 
My  heaven  is  life  in  God  which  is  accessible  to  all.     My  church 
is  that  invisible  kingdom  of  God  in  which  is  all  truth,  all  love, 
all  holiness. 

LITERATURE.  —  HISTORY  :  History  of  the  Brahmo  Samaj,  Siva- 
nath  Sastri,  Calcutta,  Chatterji,  1911-1912,  two  vols.  Rs.  6.  The 
Theistic  Directory,  by  V.  R.  Shinde,  Bombay,  Prarthana  Samaj,  1912. 
THE  ADI  SAM  j:  Life  and  Letters  of  Raja  Rammohun  Roy,  by 
Sophia  Dobson  Collet,  Edited  by  Hem  Chandra  Sarkar,  Cal- 


74     MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN    INDIA 

cutta,  1914,  Rs.  2,  as.  8.  The  English  Works  of  Raja  Ram  Mohan 
Ray,  Allahabad,  Panini  Office,  1906,  Rs.  2,  as.  8.  The  Complete 
Works  of  Raja  Ram  Mohan  Ray,  Sansk  it  and  Bengali,  Calcutta, 
1880.  The  Autobiography  of  Maharshi  Devendranath  Tagore,  Trans 
lated  by  Satyendranath  Tagore,  Calcutta,  Lahiri,  1909,  Rs.  2  as. 
8.  Brahma  Dharma,  by  Devendranath  Tagore,  Calcutta,  K.  K. 
Chakravarti,  1850.  KESHAB  AND  THE  NEW  DISPENSATION  :  The 
Life  and  Teachings  of  Keshab  Chundra  Sen,  by  Pratap  Chandra  Mo- 
zoomdar,  Calcutta,  Baptist  Mission  Press,  1887,  out  of  print. 
Keshub  Chunder  Sen's  Lectures  in  India,  Calcutta,  the  Brahmo  Tract 
Society,  1899.  (Most  of  Keshab's  writings,  whether  Bengali  or 
English,  can  be  got  through  the  Brahmo  Tract  Society,  Lily  Cottage, 
Upper  Circular  Road,  Calcutta.)  Keshab  Chandra  Sen  in  England, 
Calcutta,  1 88 1.  The  Oriental  Christ,  by  P.  C.  Mozoomdar,  Cal 
cutta,  Brahmo  Tract  Society,  Rs.  3.  Slokasahgraha,  A  Compila 
tion  of  Theistic  Texts,  Calcutta,  K.  P.  Nath,  1904,  Rs.  i.  THE 
SADHARAN  SAMAJ  :  The  Religion  of  the  Brahmo  Samaj,  by  Hem  Chandra 
Sarkar,  Calcutta,  Kuntaline  Press,  1911,  as.  6.  The  Philosophy 
of  Brahmaism,  by  Pandit  S.  N.  Tattvabhushana,  Madras,  Higgin- 
botham,  1909,  Rs.  2-8. 

2.  THE  PRARTHANA  SAMAJ 

i.  We  now  turn  our  attention  to  Western  India,  the  modern 
history  of  which  begins  in  1818  when,  at  the  close  of  the  last 
Maratha  war,  British  authority  became  supreme  in  the  great 
territory  now  known  as  the  Bombay  Presidency.  The  Hon. 
Mr.  Mountstuart  Elphinstone,  who  became  Governor  of 
Bombay  in  1819,  founded  the  very  next  year  the  Bombay 
Native  Education  Society,  which  did  much  to  plant  Western 
education  in  the  city.  When  he  retired  in  1827,  the  leaders  of 
the  city,  both  Hindu  and  Parsee,  in  order  to  commemorate  his 
work,  raised  a  great  fund  which  was  used  to  found  profes 
sorships,  and  became  the  nucleus  of  the  Elrjlunstone^College, 
the  Government  College  in  Bombay. 

John  Wilson  of  the  Church  of  Scotland  founded  in  1835  the 
college  which  bears  his  name  to-day.  Wilson's  work  was  on 
the  same  lines  as  Duff's ;  and  under  his  teaching  a  number  of 


MOVEMENTS    FAVOURING    VIGOROUS    REFORM     75 

young  men,  both  Hindu  and  Parsee,  passed  into  the  Christian 
Church.  The  whole  of  Western  India  was  moved  by  the 
baptism  of  three  Parsees  in  1839,*  and  again  by  the  baptism 
of  a  Brahman,  Narayana  Seshadri  in  1843.  Wilson's  vital 
influence  may  also  be  traced  in  many  men  who  remained  in 
Hinduism  and  Zoroastrianism.  In  1842  the  London  Society 
for  the  Promotion  of  Female  Education  sent  out  a  lady  mis 
sionary  to  work  among  the  Parsee  women  in  Bombay.2 

2.  Progressive  movements  among  both  Hindus  and  Parsees 
sprang  from  these  educational  and  religious  efforts.  The 
earliest  organization  was  a  secret  society  called  the  Gugta 
Sa^m.  The  members  were  Hindus 3  and  they  met  for  worship 
and  religious  discussion,  but  nothing  further  is  known  of  its 
work.  It  was  succeeded  in  1849  by  the  Pa/ranm^msa^qbha.4 
It  too  was  a  secret  society,  but  social  reform  held  a  rather 
more  prominent  place  in  its  discussions  than  religious  ques 
tions.  After  their  discussion  was  over  the  members  sang 
hymns  from  the  Ratnamala  and  joined  in  a  common  meal, 
the  food  for  which  had  been  prepared  by  a  low-caste  cook. 
No  one  could  become  a  member,  unless  he  were  willing  to  eat 
bread  made  by  a  Christian,  and  drink  water  brought  by  a 
Muhammadan.  The  influence  of  the  society  was  necessarily 
rather  limited,  as  everything  was  kept  secret.  Yet  there 
were  branches  in  Poona,  Ahmadnagar  and  elsewhere.  But 
in  1860  some  one  stole  the  books,  and  the  whole  thing  was 
made  public.  There  was  great  indignation  against  the  mem 
bers  ;  and  the  society  broke  up. 

1  P.  84,  below. 

2  Richter,  338  n. 

8  Amongst  them  were  Moroba  Vinoba  and  Baba  Padmanji,  who  became  a 
Christian  at  a  later  date. 

4  Amongst  its  members  were  N.  M.  Paramanand  and  B.  Mangesh  Wagle. 
It  is  interesting  to  note  that  a  secret  society  was  formed  in  Calcutta  by 
Hindus  "for  instructing  their  young  daughters  and  other  female  relatives." 
Richter,  337. 


76     MODERN   RELIGIOUS   MOVEMENTS   IN   INDIA 

The  more  earnest  men,  however,  held  by  their  convictions 
and  watched  with  great  interest  the  Brahma  movement  in 
Bengal.  In  1864  Keshab  paid  his  first  visit  to  Bombay,  and 
many  were  delighted  with  both  the  man  and  his  message. 
But  his  visit  came  at  an  unfortunate  moment ;  Bombay  was 
in  a  fever  of  excitement  over  share  speculation;  and  no 
result  followed. 

3.  Three  years  later,  however,  in  1867,  a  theistic  society 
was  actually  formed  and  called  the  Prarthana  Samaj.  Prayer 

**-*-s^\^-^^»- -w  .*>  '  J 

Society,  the  leader  being  Dr.  Atmaram  Pandurang  (1823- 
1898),  who  was  a  personal  friend  of  Dr.  Wilson  and  had  been 
deeply  influenced  by  him.  Other  members  were  Dadoba 
Pandurang,  Bhaskara  Pandurang  (brothers  of  the  leader), 
Ram  Bal  Krishna,  N.  M.  Paramanand,  Bhare  Mahajan,  W. 
B.  Naorangi,  V.  A.  Modak  and  B.  M.  Wagle.  A  weekly 
prayer-meeting  was  started,  rules  for  the  society  were 
drawn  up,  and  a  managing  committee  appointed.  The  aims 
were  theistic  worship  and  social  reform.  Next  year  Keshab 

•--*»-*^^V^-0^\— -      --OX»*=*X-<=A-^~^»^-^-*s.' 

visited  Bombay  for  a  second  time,  and  considerably  strength 
ened  the  organization.  In  iSjjo  the 
according  to  theisticjite^j^kplace ;  and  about  the  same 
timeRTur^Iiaridarkar  (now  Sir^R^G-^handar^ar)  and  M. 
G^Ranade  (later  Mr.  Justice  Ranade)  joined  the  young  Samaj. 
In  1872  PjQ^Mozoomdar  came  from  Calcutta,  and  spent  six 
months  in  Bombay,  building  up  the  congregation,  and  start 
ing  night-schools  for  working  people  and  the  journal  of  the 
Samaj,  the  Subodh  Patrika.  In  1874  the  Samaj  erected  its 
own  building  in  Girgaum,  Bombay.  Pg^ditJD^ananda 
Sarasvati  came  to  Bombay  the  same  year,1  and  his  lectures 
roused  much  interest,  but  his  ideas  about  the  Vedas  pre 
vented  the  Prarthana  Samaj  from  following  him.  The  fol 
lowing  year  he  founded  the  Arya  Samaj  in  Bombay.  A  little 
later  there  was  a  proposal  to  change  the  name  of  the  society 
1  P.  109,  below. 


PLATE   IV 


MR.  JUSTICE  RAXADE 


SIR  X.  G.  CHAXDAVARKAR 


SIR  R.  G.  BHAXDARKAR  KHARSHEDJI  RUSTAMJI  CAMA 


MOVEMENTS    FAVOURING    VIGOROUS    REFORM     77 

to  the  Bombay  Brahma  Samaj,  but  on  account  of  the  dissen 
sions  in  the  Brahma  Samaj  in  Calcutta  the  Bombay  leaders 
were  unwilling  to  identify  themselves  with  it.  In  1882 
S.  P.  Kelkar  became  a  missionary  of  the  Samaj ;  and  in  the 
same  year  N.  G.  Chandavarkar,  now  Sir  Narayan  Ganesh 
Chandavarkar,  began  to  take  an  active  part  in  the  work. 
Pandita  Ramabai,  who  had  not  as  yet  become  a  Christian,  did 
valuable  work  among  the  women  of  the  Samaj  in  1882-1883, 
and  founded  the  Arva^JaMa^Sa^naj,  or  Ladies'  Society. 
During  recent  years  a  number  of  younger  men,  the  chief  of 
whom  are  K.  Natarajan,  S.  N.  Gokhale,  V.  R.  Shinde,  V.  A. 
Sukhtankar,  and  N.  G.  VeUnkar,  have  joined,  and  have  done 
valuable  work  in  various  ways. 

The  Prarthana  Samaj  has  never  had  such  groups  of  mis 
sionaries  as  have  toiled  for  the  Brahma  Samaj.  They  have 
usually  had  only  one  or  two.  For  this  reason  the  movement 
has  not  spread  widely ;  yet  there  are  associated  Samajes  at 
Poona,  Kirkee,  Kolhapur  and  Satara.  Several  societies, 
originally  connected  with  the  Prarthana  Samaj,  now  call 
themselves  Brahma  Samajes.  On  the  other  hand,  the  milder 
policy  of  the  Prarthana  Samaj  has  commended  itself  to  many 
in  the  Telugu  country  and  further  south.  Out  of  the  twenty- 
nine  Samajes  in  the  Madras  Presidency  eighteen  bear  the 
name  Prarthana  Samaj. 

Nor  has  the  Prarthana  Samaj  produced  much  literature,  i 
This  failure  is,  doubtless,  largely  due  to  the  impression  so  com- , 
mon  among  its  members  that  definite  beliefs  and  theological  ^ 
thought  are  scarcely  necessary  for  a  free  theistic  body.  Of ' 
this  serious  weakness  Ran^de  wrote * : 

Many  enthusiastic  leaders  of  the  Brahma  Samaj  movement 
have  been  heard  deliberately  to  declare  that  the  only  cardinal 
points  of  Theism  necessary  to  constitute  it  a  religion  of  man 
kind,  the  only  articles  of  its  confession  of  faith,  are  the  Father- 
1  Essays,  251-3. 


78     MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN    INDIA 

hood  of  God,  andUieBroJ.her^  These  are  the  only 

pomS*w£ich  it  isaSoIut^nc^Siiyto&old  fast  to  for  purposes 
of  regeneration  and  salvation.  And  with  fifty  years  of  working 
history,  our  leaders  seem  content  to  lisp  this  same  story  of  early 
childhood.  There  is  no  attempt  at  grasping  in  all  earnestness 
the  great  religious  difficulties  which  have  puzzled  people's 
faith  during  all  time,  and  driven  them  to  seek  rest  in  revela 
tion.  ...  To  come  nearer  home,  our  friends  of  the  Prarthana 
Samaj  seem  to  be  perfectly  satisfied  with  a  creed  which  consists 
of  only  one  positive  belief  in  the  unity  of  God,  accompanied 
with  a  special  protest  against  the  existing  corruption  of  Hindu 
religion,  viz.,  the  article  which  denounces  the  prevalent  idolatry 
to  be  a  sin,  and  an  abomination ;  and  it  is  ardently  hoped  that 
a  new  Church  can  be  built  in  course  of  time  on  such  a  narrow 
foundation  of  belief.  ...  It  is  time,  we  think,  to  venture  on 
an  earnest  attempt  to  remove  this  reproach. 

His  own  Theisms  Confession  of  Faith 1  is  a  brave  attempt  to 
give  the  thought  of  the  Samaj  something  more  of  a  theology. 
In  February,  1913,  Mr.  N.  G.  Velinkar,  one  of  the  most  capable 
thinkers  in  the  Samaj,  gave  expression  in  conversation  with  the 
writer  to  his  regret  that  there  is  so  little  definite  teaching  in 
the  Samaj.  A  vigorous  effort  is  being  made  at  present  by  Mr. 
Velinkar  and  a  few  other  leaders  to  produce  theological  and 
devotional  books  to  enrich  the  life  of  the  society. 

4.  Speaking  practically,  the  beliefs  of  the  Samaj  are  the 
same  as  thoj^ejiejcl^^the^^  Brahnia_Samaj.  They 

are  theists,  and  opposed  to  idolatry.  Their  theism  rests 
largely  on  ancient  Hindu  thought ;  yet,  practically,  they  have 
given  up  the  inspiration  of  the  Vedas  and  the  doctrine  of  trans 
migration.  The  latter  is  left  an  open  question,  but  few  hold 
by  it.  The  Samaj  draws  its  nourishment  very  largely  from 
the  Hindu  scriptures,  and  uses  the  hymns  of  the  old  Maratha 
poet-saints  in  its  services. 

If  theistic  worship  is  the  first  interest  of  the  Samaj,  social 

1  Essays,  p.  250. 


MOVEMENTS    FAVOURING    VIGOROUS    REFORM     79 

reform  has  always  held  the  next  place.     Four  reforms  are 
sought,    the  abandonment  of    caste,   thehUroductipnof 
widow^remarriage,  thej^icouragement  of  female  education, 
and  the  abolition   of   child-marriage.      Yet    some    of    the 
dimdenceofOi^'Tarairiahamsa  Society  still  clings  to  the 
members.     There  has  never  been  amongst  them  the  rigid 
exclusion  of  idolatry,  which  has  marked  the  Brahma  Samaj  , 
since  Debendra  Nath  Tagore  became  leader,  nor  is  the  break- ) 
ing  of  caste  made  a  condition  of  membership,  as  in  the  two  » 
younger  Samajes  of  Calcutta.     Even  though  a  man  be  a  full 
member  of  the  Samaj,  caste  may  be  observed  and  idolatry} 
may  be  practised  in  his  house.     Miss  S.  D.  Collet  wrote  in  her  / 
Brahma  Year  Book  in  1880  : 

The  Theistic  Church  in  Western  India  occupies  a  position 
of  its  own.  Although  in  thoroughly  fraternal  relations  with 
the  Eastern  Samajes,  it  is  of  indigenous  growth  and  of  inde 
pendent  standing.  It  has  never  detached  itself  so  far  from  the 
Hindu  element  of  Brahmaism  as  many  of  the  Bengali  Samajes, 
and  both  in  religious  observances  and  social  customs,  it  clings 
far  more  closely  to  the  old  models.  It  is  more  learned  and  less 
emotional  in  its  tone,  and  far  more  cautious  and  less  radical 
in  its  policy  than  the  chief  Samajes  of  Bengal.  But  it  is  doing 
good  work  in  its  own  way  and  it  has  enlarged  its  operations 
considerably  within  the  last  few  years.1 

A  writer  in  the  Indian  Social  Reformer 2  says : 

The  Prarthana  Samaj  may  be  said  to  be  composed  of  men 
paying  allegiance  to  Hinduism  and  to  Hindu  society  with  a 
protest.  The  members  observe  the  ceremonies  of  Hinduism, 
but  only  as  mere  ceremonies  of  routine,  destitute  of  all  reli 
gious  significance.  This  much  sacrifice  they  make  to  exist 
ing  prejudices.  Their  principle,  however,  is  not  to  deceive 
anyone  as  to  their  religious  opinions,  even  should  an  honest 
expression  of  views  entail  unpopularity. 

1  I  owe  this  quotation  to  Shinde,  Theistic  Directory,  33. 

2  Vol.  XX,  317. 


So     MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN    INDIA 

The  following  is  the  official  statement  of  the  faith  of  the 
Samaj  i 

Cardinal  Principles  of  Faith 

(1)  God  is  the  creator  of  this  universe.     He  is  the  only  true 
God ;  there  is  no  other  God  beside  him.     He  is  eternal,  spiritual, 
infinite,  the  store  of  all  good,  all  joy,  without  parts,  without 
form,   one   without  a  second,  the  ruler  of  all,  all-pervading, 
omniscient,   almighty,   merciful,  all-holy  and  the    saviour   of 
sinners. 

(2)  His  worship  alone  leads  to  happiness  in  this  world  and 
the  next. 

(3)  Love  and  reverence  for  him,  an  exclusive  faith  in  him, 
praying   and   singing   to   him   spiritually   with   these   feelings 
and  doing  the  things  pleasing  to  him  constitute  His  true  wor 
ship. 

(4)  To  worship  and  pray  to  images  and  other  created  ob 
jects  is  not  a  true  mode  of  divine  adoration. 

(5)  God  does  not  incarnate  himself  and  there  is  no  one 
book  which  has  been  directly  revealed  by  God  or  is  wholly 
infallible. 

(6)  All  men  are  His  children ;   therefore  they  should  behave 
towards  each  other  as  brethren  without  distinction.     This  is 
pleasing  to  God  and  constitutes  man's  duty.1 

5.  The  religious  activities  of  the  Samaj  are  the  Sunday 
services,  the  Sunday  School,  the  Young  Theists'  Union  (a 
sort  of  Endeavour  Society) ,  the  Anniversaries,  the  work  of  the 
missionaries,  the  Postal  Mission,  which  sends  religious  litera 
ture  by  post,  and  the  Subodh  Patrika. 

There  are  eight  night-schools  for  working-people  financed 
and  conducted  by  the  Samaj ;  there  is  a  Free  Reading  Room 
and  Library  in  the  Samaj  building ;  and  there  is  a  Ladies' 
Association  for  spreading  instruction  and  culture  among 
women  and  girls.  The  Students'  Brotherhood,  a  theistic 
replica  of  a  Young  Men's  Christian  Association,  is  loosely 

1  Prdrthand  Samaj  Report,  1911-1912. 


MOVEMENTS    FAVOURING    VIGOROUS    REFORM     81 

associated  with  the  Samaj.  In  Pandharpur  an  Orphanage 
and  Foundling  Asylum  supported  by  the  Samaj  has  done 
good  work  for  many  years. 

But  the  greatest  service  which  the  Samaj  has  done  to  India 
has  been  the  organization  of  the  Social  Reform  Movement. 
Though  not  officially  connected  with  the  Samaj,  nearly  every 
vigorous  effort  made  in  favour  of  social  reform  during  the  last 
thirty  years  has  been  started,  and  largely  carried  on,  by  its 
members.  The  same  is  true  of  the  Depressed  Classes' 
Mission.  We  deal  with  these  great  movements  below.1 

An  All-India  Theistic  Conference  is  held  annually  which 
brings  the  Brahma  and  Prarthana  Samajes  together. 

LITERATURE.  —  HISTORY:  Vol.  II,  pp.  411-456  of  History  of  the 
Brahmo  Samaj,  by  Sivanath  Sastri,  Calcutta,  Chatterji,  1911-1912, 
two  vols.  Rs.  6 ;  and  pp.  33-42  of  The  Theistic  Directory,  by  V.  R. 
Shinde,  Bombay,  Prarthana  Samaj,  1912.  TEACHING:  Religious 
and  Social  Reform,  by  M.  G.  Ranade,  Bombay,  Claridge,  1902.  The 
Speeches  and  Writings  of  Sir  N.  G.  Chandavarkar ,  Bombay,  Mano- 
ranjak  Grantha  Prasarak  Mandali,  1911,  Rs.  2  as.  8. 

3.  PARSES  REFORM 

i.  One  great  branch  of  the  Indo-European  race  lived  long 
before  the  Christian  era  somewhere  in  Central  Asia  to  the 
south  of  the  Oxus  River.  This  group  finally  broke  in  two, 
the  eastern  wing  passing  into  India,  and  creating  its  civili 
zation,  the  western  colonizing  Iran,  and  producing  the  Zoro- 
astrian  religion  and  the  Persian  Empire.  On  the  rise  of 
Islam,  Arab  armies  marched  both  east  and  west,  conquering 
every  power  that  came  in  their  way.  The  overthrow  of 
Persia  was  complete.  In  their  new  zeal  for  their  religion, 
the  Muslim  warriors  offered  the  Persians  the  choice  of  Islam 
or  the  sword.  Only  a  remnant  of  the  people  were  able 
by  escaping  to  the  wilds  of  the  North  to  retain  both  life 

1  P.  372  and  Chapter  VI. 


82     MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN    INDIA 

and  religion.  Even  there,  they  were  so  much  harassed 
that  a  great  company  of  them  left  Persia  altogether,  and 
found  their  way  into  the  province  of  Gujarat  in  Western 
India.  There  the  Hindus  allowed  them  to  settle  under  very 
definite  conditions.  The  exiles  took  root,  and  prospered. 
Bombay  is  now  their  greatest  centre,  but  they  are  still  found  in 
Gujarat,  and  small  groups  reside  in  each  of  the  great  commer 
cial  centres  of  the  country.  They  call  themselves  Parsees, 
i.e.  Persians ;  and  they  number  about  one  hundred 
thousand. 

They  brought  with  them  certain  copies  of  their  sacred  books, 
but  the  disasters  of  their  country  had  played  terrible  havoc 
with  its  sacred  literature.  The  people  ascribe  their  most 
serious  losses  to  Alexander  the  Great ;  but  it  is  not  known 
how  far  the  destruction  of  the  Avesta  is  due  to  him,  or  to  later 
conquerors.  In  any  case  there  has  been  most  pitiable  loss. 
Professor  Moulton  says : 

The  faithful  remnant  who  in  the  next  century  (i.e.  after 
the  Moslem  conquest)  took  refuge  on  the  hospitable  shores  of 
India,  to  find  there  a  liberty  of  conscience  which  Mohammedan 
Persia  denied  them,  brought  with  them  only  fragments  of  the 
literature  that  Sassanian  piety  had  so  laboriously  gathered. 
Altogether,  Prof.  William  Jackson  calculates,  about  two-thirds 
of  the  Avesta  have  disappeared  since  the  last  Zoroastrian  mon 
arch  sat  on  the  Persian  throne.1 

As  the  Hindus  and  the  Parsees  are  sister-peoples,  so  the 
Zoroastrian  religion  and  the  Hindu  faith  have  a  good  deal  in 
common.  The  religious  reform  introduced  by  Zoroaster  did 
for  the  Persians  a  larger  and  more  fruitful  service  than  that 
done  for  the  Hindus  by  the  Vedanta  philosophy.  But,  though 
the  monotheism  and  the  ethics  of  Zoroaster  had  worked  a 
greater  revolution  than  the  Vedanta  produced,  yet  the 
religions  still  shewed  their  ancient  kinship.  Consequently, 

1  Early  Religious  Poetry  of  Persia,  14. 


MOVEMENTS    FAVOURING    VIGOROUS    REFORM     83 

when  a  small  band  of  hunted  fugitives,  carrying  with  them  the 
precious  fragments  of  their  national  literature,  settled  in  a 
Hindu  environment,  they  found  themselves  in  somewhat  con 
genial  company;  and,  despite  their  exclusiveness,  their  life 
and  conceptions  necessarily  felt  the  influence  of  the  powerful 
community  in  the  midst  of  which  they  were  settled.  Child- 
marriage  and  the  Zenana  became  universal  among  them. 
Polygamy  was  not  uncommon.  The  men  ate  separately  from 
the  women.  Many  were  ready  to  recognize  Hindu  festivals 
and  worship.  The  Parsee  priesthood  became  a  hereditary 
caste.  Religious,  social  and  legal  questions  were  settled,  ac 
cording  to  Hindu  custom,  by  a  small  body  called  thePanchayat. 

2.  If  we  consult  Parsee  writers  as  to  the  state  of  the  Parsees 
at  the  beginning  of  the  nineteenth  century,  we  shall  be  told 
that  the  community  was  living  in  great  ignorance,  that  the 
ordinary  Parsee  received  little  education  and  did  not  under 
stand  a  word  of  his  prayers  or  of  the  liturgy  of  Parsee  worship, 
and  that  very  few  of  the  priests  were  scholarly.    They  knew 
the  ritual  and  the  liturgy,  and  were  able  to  spell  their  way 
through  certain  books  of  the  Avesta;  but  there  seems  to  have 
been  no  thought-movement  among  them,  and  no  vivid  reali 
zation  of  the  importance  of  the  spiritual  elements  of  their 
religion  as  compared  with  the  ritual.    The  whole  people 
tended  to  stand  aloof  from  the  other  communities  of  India, 
making  pride  in  their  religion  and  race  the  reason  for  their 
exclusiveness. 

In  material  things  the  Parsees  were  very  prosperous.  They 
held  a  great  place  in  Indian  commerce,  and  many  families 
had  risen  to  opulence.  They  were  highly  respected  alike  by 
Hindus  and  Muhammadans. 

3.  We  have  seen  above 1  that  Western  education  was  intro 
duced  into  the  Bombay  Presidency  in  1820,  and  that  in  1827 
money  was  raised  which  finally  created  the  Elphinstone  Col- 

1  P.  74,  above. 


84     MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN   INDIA 

lege.  In  1835  John  Wilson  began  Christian  College  education 
in  Bombay ;  in  1839  three  Parsees  were  baptized ;  and  in 
1843  Wilson's  work  on  the  Parsee  religion  appeared.  In  a 
letter  to  me  Mr.  R.  P.  Karkaria  writes : 

This  work,  which  mercilessly  exposed  the  weak  points  of  the 
popular  system  believed  in  by  the  laity  and  the  clergy  in  their 
ignorance,  was  really  epoch-making,  not  only  for  its  scholar 
ship  —  it  was  the  first  European  book  based  on  a  first-hand 
knowledge  of  Parsi  sacred  language  and  books  —  but  for  the 
effect  it  has  had  on  our  religion  itself,  which  it  helped  materially 
to  purify.  It  put  Parsis  on  their  mettle.  Numerous  were 
the  criticisms  and  replies,  mostly  ignorant  and  some  down 
right  stupid.  In  a  few  years  sensible  Parsis  set  to  work  to  put 
their  house  in  order,  so  to  say. 

In  1849  they  started  schools  for  the  boys  and  girls  of  the 
community,  so  that  no  child  should  have  to  go  without  educa 
tion.  As  the  Panchayat  had  lost  all  power  over  the  commu 
nity,  and  reform  was  seriously  needed,  a  group  of  influential 
and  wealthy  Parsees  and  a  number  of  young  men  fresh  from 
Elphinstone  College  formed,  in  1851,  the  Rahnumai  Mazday- 
asnan  Sabhd,  or  Religious  Reform  Association,  which  had  for 
its  object "  the  regeneration  of  the  social  condition  of  the  Par- 
sees  and  the  restoration  of  the  Zoroastrian  religion  to  its  pris 
tine  purity."  The  more  notable  men  in  this  group  were  Dad- 
l  abhai  Naoroji,  J.  B.  Wacha,  S.  S.  Bangali  and  Naoroji  Fur- 
j  donji.  They  established  at  the  same  time  the  Rast  Goftar, 
or  Truth-teller,  a  weekly  journal,  which  proved  a  powerful 
instrument  in  their  hands.  By  lectures,  meetings  and  litera 
ture  they  stirred  the  community  to  its  depths  with  their  pro 
posals  of  reform.  At  first  they  encountered  a  great  deal  of 
opposition  from  the  orthodox.1  But  they  persevered,  and  at 
last  achieved  considerable  success : 

These  early  reformers  were  very  cautious,  discreet,  sagacious 
and  tactful  in  their  movement.    They  rallied  round   them 
1  See  below,  p.  343. 


MOVEMENTS    FAVOURING    VIGOROUS    REFORM     85 

as  many  Parsi  leading  priests  of  the  day  as  they  could  and 
submitted  to  them  in  a  well-formulated  form  specific  questions 
under  specific  heads,  asking  their  opinion  if  such  and  such 
practice,  dogma,  creed,  ceremony,  etc.,  were  in  strict  con 
formity  with  the  teachings  of  the  religion  of  Zoroaster,  or  con 
travened  those  teachings.  Fortified  by  these  opinions,  the  re 
formers  carried  on  their  propaganda  in  the  way  of  lectures, 
public  meetings,  pamphlets  and  articles  in  the  Rast  Go/tar. 
One  cannot  rise  from  the  perusal  of  these  articles  without  being 
thoroughly  impressed  with  a  sense  of  candour,  thorough  in 
dependence  and  an  unmixed  desire  to  extricate  their  co-reli 
gionists  from  the  thraldom  of  all  those  practices,  rituals  and 
creed  for  which  there  was  no  warrant  within  the  four  corners 
of  the  authentic  Zoroastrian  scriptures.1 

In  1858  a  group  of  educated  Parsees  started  a  movement  for 
helping  their  brethren,  the  remnant  of  the  old  Zoroastrians 
of  Persia,  now  known  as  the  Gabars,2  who  were  very 
seriously  oppressed  by  the  Shah's  government.  After  twenty- 
four  years  of  agitation,  they  were  released,  in  1882,  from  the 
poll-tax,  jfeya,  which  weighed  heavily  upon  them.  The 
Parsees  have  also  assisted  them  financially. 

A  little  later  a  new  element  was  introduced.  A  young  man 
belonging  to  one  of  the  great  commercial  families,  Kharshedji 
Rustamji  Camaf.went  to  Europe  on  business ;  and,  before  he 
returned  to  Bombay  in  1859,  proceeded  to  the  Continent, 
where  he  studied  the  Avesta  in  the  original  under  the  greatest 
Avestan  scholars  of  Europe.4  What  he  did  in  Bombay  from 
1 86 1  onwards  had  better  be  told  in  the  words  of  one  of  my 
correspondents : 5 

On  his  return  he  began  teaching  to  a  few  disciples  the  Avesta, 
the  Parsi  scriptures,  by  the  Western  methods  —  comparative 

1 ISR.,  XXII,  113. 

2  See  art.  Gabars  in  ERE. 

8  See  his  portrait,  Plate  IV,  facing  page  76.  * 

4  For  the  rise  of  Avestan  scholarship,  see  p.  8  n.  above. 

'  Professor  P.  A.  Wadia. 


86     MODERN   RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN   INDIA 

study  of  the  Iranian  languages  and  grammar.  The  most  famous 
of  his  disciples  were  Sheriarji  Bharucha,  who  is  still  alive, 
Temurasp  Anklesaria,  a  most  distinguished  scholar  of  Pahlavi, 
who  died  about  ten  years  ago,  and  Kavasji  Kanga.  He  also 
helped  largely  in  the  foundation  of  two  Madressas,  or  institu 
tions  devoted  to  the  study  of  the  Iranian  languages  and  scrip 
tures. 

His  main  purpose  was  to  create  a  new  type  of  Parsee  priests 
who,  by  their  education  and  character,  might  be  able  to  lead 
the  community,  and  also  by  study  to  realize  what  the  real 
teaching  of  Zoroaster  was,  and  so  be  able  to  show  authority 
for  casting  off  the  many  superstitious  accretions  which  the 
religion  had  gathered  in  the  course  of  the  centuries. 

Meantime,  through  the  encouragement  of  the  reformers, 
English  education  had  laid  hold  of  the  Parsee  community. 
They  built  schools  for  themselves.  The  education  of  girls 
made  great  progress.  A  certain  amount  of  religious  instruc 
tion  was  given  in  the  schools.  The  age  of  marriage  was 
gradually  raised;  and,  within  a  comparatively  short  space 
of  time,  Parsee  women  achieved  their  emancipation.  They 
began  to  move  about  freely  in  the  open  air,  both  on  foot 
and  in  carriages,  while  in  former  years,  if  they  went  out  at  all, 
the  blinds  of  the  carriage  were  always  closely  drawn.  English 
dress  came  more  and  more  into  use ;  the  European  mode  of 
dining  at  table  was  accepted ;  and  men  and  women  began  to 
eat  together : 

The  Parsi  mode  of  life  may  be  described  to  be  an  eclectic 
ensemble,  half-European  and  half-Hindu.  As  they  advance 
every  year  in  civilization  and  enlightenment,  they  copy  more 
closely  English  manners  and  modes  of  living.1 

Many  hold  that  Western  influence  has  gone  too  far.  Thus, 
Mr.  R.  P.  Karkaria,  writing  of  Government  education,  says : 

1  Karaka  I,  123. 


MOVEMENTS   FAVOURING    VIGOROUS    REFORM     87 

It  helped  the  reformers,  but  went  much  farther  than  they 
intended,  and  has  bred  up  a  generation  which  is  too  reformed, 
a  generation  which  is  not  quite  strictly  Parsee  or  Christian  or 
anything  in  religion. 

This  has  helped  the  conservative  movement  dealt  with  below.1 

4.  Mr.  B.  M.  Malabari,  a  Parsee  government  servant,  who 
later  became  a  journalist,  exercised  a  very  wide  and  powerful 
influence  in  the  cause  of  women  and  children  in  India.     His 
pamphlet  on  Infant  Marriage  and    Enforced  Widowhood? 
published  in  1887,  stirred  public  opinion  to  the  depths.     In 
his  journal,  The  Indian  Spectator,  he  continued  the  struggle 
for  more  humane  treatment  for  the  women  and  children  of 
India.    When  in  England  in  1890,  he  published,  in  pamphlet 
form,  an  Appeal  on  behalf  of  the  daughters  of  India,  which  power 
fully  moved  English  feeling.     Finally,  in  1908,  in  conjunction 
with  his  biographer,  Mr.  Dayaram  Gidumal,  he  founded  the 
Seva  Sadan.3 

5.  The  culture  and  wide  business  relations  of  theParsees 
have  brought  them  into  very  close  relations  with  Europeans, 
and  there  have  been  several  intermarriages.     One  wealthy 
Parsee  married  a  French  lady.    She  declared  herself  a  Zoroas- 
trian  by  faith ;  and,  wishing  to  be  a  true  wife  in  all  things  to 
her  husband,  sought  admission  to  the  Parsee  community,  that 
she  might  share  his  religious  life  with  him  to  the  full.     The 
advanced  party  wished  to  agree  to  the  proposal ;  but  necessa 
rily  opposition  arose ;  for  the  Parsees  have  not  admitted  (ex 
cept  stealthily)  any  foreigner  to  their  ranks  for  centuries; 
and  the  priests  refused  her  admission.4    For,  though  reform 
has  done  much  for  the  Parsee   community  in   general,  the 
priests  have  lagged  pitiably  behind.    Very  few  of  them  are 
men  of  education ;   and,  even  if  they  know  their  own  Scrip 
tures,  they  have  no  knowledge  of  the  West,  and  are  therefore 
quite  unfit  to  lead  the  community  to-day.     In  consequence, 

1  P.  343.  2  Below,  pp.  389  and  396.  3  P.  380,  below. 

4  A  great  lawsuit  followed,  but  it  did  not  result  in  a  clear  decision. 


88     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

a  new  demand  has  arisen  for  educated  priests.  Parsees  con 
trast  their  priests  with  the  missionaries  they  see  around  them. 
A  valued  correspondent  writes : 

There  is  an  increasing  demand  for  educated  priests,  capa 
ble  of  satisfying  the  spiritual  needs  of  an  educated  community, 
which  is  no  longer  content  with  accepting  everything  on  author 
ity.  Amongst  us  hitherto  the  priests  have  been  illiterate, 
ignorant,  and  therefore  unfit  for  the  new  demands  created  by 
the  times.  They  have  to  depend  not  upon  fixed  salaries  or 
endowments  but  upon  fees  and  payments  received  for  reciting 
prayers  and  performing  ceremonies.  There  is  an  increasing 
demand  for  priests  who  by  preaching  and  example  can  set  up 
an  ideal  for  the  faithful  to  follow.  Hitherto  we  have  had  little 
of  preaching  or  sermonizing,  or  even  of  philosophical  exposition 
of  tenets.1 

The  most  advanced  party  are  also  convinced  that  there  is 
still  much  required  in  the  way  of  religious  and  social  reform. 
But  a  number  of  the  leading  men  of  the  community  have 
come  to  believe  that  the  Parsees  are  losing  their  primacy  in 
India,  that  they  no  longer  control  commerce  to  the  extent 
they  used  to  do,  and  that  physical  degeneration  has  set  in 
amongst  them.  Strangely  enough,  one  of  the  boldest  and  most 
cultured  of  modern  Parsees,  the  Hon.  Justice  Sir  Dinshaw 
Davar,  puts  down  this  supposed  degeneracy  to  modern  educa 
tion.  Others  have,  however,  no  difficulty  in  answering  him. 
It  is  clear  that  it  is  city  life,  sedentary  occupations  and  the 
want  of  regular  exercise  which  is  producing  the  phenomena 
referred  to. 

(6.  A  Parsee  priest  named  Dhala  went  to  America  and 
studied  in  the  University  of  Columbia  under  Professor  Jack- 
;  son,  the  famous  Zoroastrian  scholar.     He  returned  to  India 
'  in  1909,  and,  in  order  to  focus  the  reform  movement,  pro 
posed  a  Zoroastrian  Conference.     The  following  quotation 
gives  the  main  facts: 

1  Professor  Wadia. 


MOVEMENTS    FAVOURING    VIGOROUS    REFORM     89 

A  couple  of  years  ago,  Dr.  Dhala,  a  young  energetic  Parsi 
divine,  fresh  from  his  long  and  arduous  studies  of  the  Parsi 
Religion  at  the  University  of  Columbia,  as  elucidated  by  scholars 
and  savants  of  English,  European  and  American  reputation, 
whose  labours  and  researches  in  the  field  of  Avesta  literature 
have  thrown  a  flood  of  light  on  the  philosophical  teachings  and 
speculations  of  our  revered  prophet,  conceived  the  idea  of  having 
a  Conference  on  some  such  lines  as  the  Indian  Social  Confer 
ence  held  every  year  by  our  sister  community,  the  Hindus. 
The  raison  d'etre  of  the  Conference  was  to  inaugurate  a  liberal 
movement  for  the  purpose  of  restoring  Zoroastrian  religion 
to  its  pristine  sublimity  and  simplicity,  in  other  words,  to  weed 
out  all  practices,  beliefs,  creeds,  rituals,  ceremonies  and  dogmas 
that  have  clustered  round  the  true  original  religion,  and  to  in 
struct  and  guide  the  community  accordingly.1 

The  Conference  was  held  in  April,  1910,  and  a  variety  of 
questions,  religious,  social  and  educational  were  discussed. 
The  need  of  an  educated  priesthood,  and  the  need  of  serious 
moral  and  religious  education  in  schools,  were  strongly 
emphasized.  But  the  conservatives2  opposed,  and  violent 
scenes  interrupted  the  proceedings,  the  result  being  that  the 
gathering  which  had  been  created  by  the  reformers  for  the 
sake  of  securing  a  great  advance  became  rather  a  rallying 
centre  for  the  conservative  party.  The  Second  Conference, 
held  in  1911,  also  suffered  seriously  from  the  same  causes. 

The  third  and  fourth  Conferences,  held  in  1912  and  1913, 
were  largely  attended  and  very  successful,  and  were  not  marred 
by  violent  opposition.  The  membership  has  grown  to  500. 
The  Conference  is  pressing  forward  the  following  schemes  for 
the  betterment  of  the  community : 

i.  Lectures.  Dr.  Dhala  and  Mr.  D.  H.  Madan,  advocate 
of  the  Bombay  High  Court,  and  several  others,  have  delivered 
lectures  on  Zoroastrianism  in  the  vernacular  to  very  large  au 
diences  in  Bombay  and  throughout  Gujarat. 

1 ISR.,  XXII,  113.  2  P.  345,  below. 


90     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

2.  Revision  of  the  Calendar. 

3.  Education  of  Parsee  priests.     Money  is  available  for  this 
project,  but  the  scheme  is  not  yet  ripe. 

4.  Industrial  and  Technical   Education.     A  sub-committee 
has  been  appointed  for  this  purpose. 

5.  Medical    Inspection    of    School   Children.     The  special 
Committee  on  this  subject  has  35  doctors  to  carry  out  the  work. 

6.  Charity  Organization.     A  scheme  was  proposed  by  Pro 
fessor  Henderson  of  Chicago  but  it  is  still  in  embryo. 

7.  Dairy   Scheme.     A   limited   liability  company  is   being 
organized  to  supply  sterilized  milk,  first  to   Parsee   children, 
then  to  others. 

8.  Agricultural  Scheme.     A  proposal  has  been  made  to  pur 
chase  land  for  a  new  organization  to  conduct  farming. 

The  leaders  of  the  progressive  party  are  Dr.  Dhala,  Sir  P. 
M.  Mehta,  Sir  Dinshaw  Petit,  the  three  Tatas,  Mr.  H.  A. 
Wadia  and  Dr.  Katrak.  The  paper  that  represents  their 
position  is  The  Parsee. 

The  rise  and  growing  influence  of  the  propaganda  of  the 
Theosophic  party 1  led  in  1911  to  the  organization  within  the 
reforming  party  of  a  society  to  resist  and  expose  it.  It  is 
called  The  Iranian  Association.  The  following  are  the  ob 
jects  the  members  have  in  view : 

1.  To  maintain  the  purity  of  the  Zoroastrian  religion  and 
remove  the  excrescences  that  have  gathered  around  it. 

2.  To  expose  and  counteract  the  effects  of  such  teachings 
of  Theosophists  and  others  as  tend : 

(a)  to  corrupt  the  religion  of  Zarathushtra  by  adding  ele 
ments  foreign  to  it,  and 

(b)  to  bring  about  the  degeneration  of  a   progressive   and 
virile  community  like  the  Parsis,  and  make  them  a  body  of 
superstitious  and  unpractical  visionaries. 

3.  To  promote  measures  for  the  welfare  and  advancement 
of  the  community. 

1  P.  344,  below. 


MOVEMENTS    FAVOURING   VIGOROUS    REFORM     91 

Since  March,  1912,  the  Association  has  published  the  Journal 
of  the  Iranian  Association,  a  small  monthly,  partly  in  English, 
partly  in  Gujarat!. 

LITERATURE.  —  History  of  the  Par  sis,  by  Dosabhai  Framji  Karaka, 
London,  Macmillan,  1884,  2  vols.,  365.  The  Pdrsl  Religion,  by 
John  Wilson,  D.D.,  Bombay,  American  Mission  Press,  1843,  out 
of  print.  The  K,  R.  Cama  Memorial  Volume,  by  Jivanji  Jamshedji 
Modi,  Bombay,  Fort  Printing  Press,  1900.  Dadabhai  Naoroji, 
A  Sketch  of  his  Life  and  Life  Work,  Madras,  Natesan,  as.  4.  B. 
M.  Malabari,  a  Biographical  Sketch,  by  Dayaram  Gidumal,  with  Intro 
duction  by  Florence  Nightingale,  London,  Fisher  Unwin,  1892.  In 
fant  Marriage  and  Enforced  Widowhood  in  India,  by  B.  M.  Malabari, 
Bombay,  Voice  of  India  Press,  1887. 


4.   MUHAMMADAN  REFORM 

i.  By  the  opening  of  the  nineteenth  century  the  collapse 
of  the  Muhammadan  empire  in  India  was  complete,  although 
the  name  and  the  shadow  continued  to  exist  in  Delhi  for  half 
a  century  longer.  Necessarily,  the  fall  of  this  mighty  empire, 
which  had  wielded  so  much  power  and  controlled  so  much 
wealth,  produced  the  direst  effects  upon  the  Muhammadans 
of  North  India.  True,  the  Empire  collapsed  through  inner 
decay,  so  that  serious  evils  were  there  before  the  fall ;  yet 
the  actual  transference  of  the  power  and  the  prestige  produced 
widespread  degradation.  The  whole  community  sank  with 
the  empire.  Necessarily,  there  was  very  bitter  feeling  against 
the  European  who  had  so  unceremoniously  helped  himself  to 
the  empire  of  their  fathers.  The  old  education  and  culture 
rapidly  declined;  and  for  many  decades  Muhammadans 
failed  to  take  advantage  of  the  new  education  planted  by  the 
conqueror.  The  consequence  was  that,  throughout  North 
India,  the  relative  positions  of  the  Hindu  and  Muhammadan 
communities  steadily  changed,  the  former  rising  in  knowledge, 
wealth  and  position,  the  latter  declining. 


92     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

2.  Syed  Ahmad  Khan  came  of  an  ancient  noble  family 
which  had  long  been  connected  with  Government.  After 
receiving  a  Muhammadan  education,  he  had  found  a  position 
under  the  British  administration.  In  these  and  other  particu 
lars  of  his  life  and  experience  he  was  very  like  Ram  Mohan 
Ray,  only  he  came  about  forty  years  later,  and  was  connected 
not  with  Calcutta  but  Delhi.  While  he  was  still  young,  he 
began  to  see  how  matters  stood.  During  the  Mutiny  his 
loyalty  never  wavered,  and  he  was  instrumental  in  saving 
many  Europeans.  As  soon  as  peace  returned,  he  wrote  a  pam 
phlet,  called  The  Causes  of  the  Indian  Mutiny,  but,  unfortu 
nately,  it  was  not  published  until  five  years  later.  That  piece 
of  work  showed  most  clearly  what  a  shrewd,  capable  man  the 
writer  was,  and  how  invaluable  he  might  be  as  an  intermediary 
between  the  Government  and  the  Muhammadan  community. 

But  the  Mutiny  opened  Syed  Ahmad's  eyes  also.  It  showed 
him,  as  by  a  flash  of  lightning,  the  frightful  danger  in  which  his 
community  stood.  He  had  early  grasped  the  real  value  of 
British  rule  in  India,  and  had  thereby  been  led  to  believe  that 
it  would  prove  stable  in  spite  of  any  such  storm  as  the  Mutiny. 
He  now  saw  clearly  that  the  Muhammadans  of  India  must 
absorb  the  science  and  the  education  of  the  West,  and  must 
also  introduce  large  social  reform  amongst  themselves,  or  else 
fall  into  complete  helplessness  and  ruin.  He  therefore  at 
once  set  about  making  plans  for  persuading  his  brethren  of 
the  truth  of  his  ideas.  He  talked  incessantly  to  his  personal 
friends,  published  pamphlets  and  books,  and  formed  an  asso 
ciation  for  the  study  of  Western  science.  He  frankly  said, 
"All  the  religious  learning  in  Muhammadan  libraries  is  of 
no  avail."  He  established  English  schools,  and  struggled  in 
every  possible  way  to  convince  his  community  of  the  wisdom 
of  learning  English  and  absorbing  the  culture  of  the  West. 
But  he  saw  as  clearly  that  Englishmen  also  required  to  learn. 
It  was  most  necessary  that  they  should  know  Indian  opinion 


MOVEMENTS    FAVOURING    VIGOROUS    REFORM     93 

and  sympathize  with  Indian  aspirations.  Hence  in  1866  the 
British-Indian  Association  was  founded,  in  order  to  focus 
Indian  opinion  on  political  questions,  yet  in  utmost  loyalty  to 
the  British  Government,  and  to  represent  Indian  ideas  in  Par 
liament.  Then,  in  order  to  further  his  plans,  both  educational 
and  political,  he  visited  England  with  his  son  in  1869,  and; 
spent  seventeen  months  there,  studying  English  life  and  poli 
tics  but  giving  the  major  part  of  his  time  and  attention  to 
education. 

When,  he  returned  to  India,  he  began  the  publication  of  a 
monthly  periodical  in  Urdu,  the  Tahzibu'l  Akhlaq  or  Reform 
of  Morals.  It  dealt  with  religious,  social  and  educational 
subjects  in  a  courageous  spirit.  He  combated  prejudice 
against  Western  science,  advocated  greater  social  freedom,  and 
sought  to  rouse  the  Muhammadan  community  to  self-con 
fidence  and  vigorous  effort.  He  urged  that  there  was  no  reli 
gious  reason  why  Muslims  should  not  dine  with  Europeans, 
provided  there  was  no  forbidden  food  on  the  table,  and  boldly 
put  his  teaching  into  practice,  living  in  European  style,  re 
ceiving  Englishmen  as  his  guests  and  accepting  their  hos 
pitality  in  return.  In  consequence,  he  was  excommunicated, 
slandered  and  persecuted.  He  was  called  atheist,  renegade, 
antichrist.  Men  threatened  to  kill  him.  But  he  held  bravely 
on. 

3.  The  climax  of  his  educational  efforts  was  the  creation  of 
the  Anglp-Muhammadan  College  at  Aligarh.  He  conceived 
the  institution,  roused  public  opinion  in  its  favour  and  gathered 
the  funds  for  its  buildings  and  its  endowment.  His  idea  was 
to  create  an  institution  which  should  do  for  young  Muslims 
what  Oxford  and  Cambridge  were  doing  for  Englishmen.  He 
believed  that  a  good  education  on  Western  lines,  supported 
by  wise  religious  teaching  from  the  Koran,  would  produce 
young  Muhammadans  of  capacity  and  character.  Aligarh  is 
thus  the  first  college  founded  by  an  Indian  that  follows  the 


94     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

missionary  idea,  that  education  must  rest  on  religion.  The 
founder  did  his  best  to  reproduce  in  India  what  he  had  seen 
in  Oxford  and  Cambridge.  The  students  reside  in  the  Col 
lege  ;  there  are  resident  tutors  who  are  expected  to  develop 
character  as  well  as  intellect ;  athletics  are  prominent ;  and 
religion  is  an  integral  part  of  the  work  of  the  College.  The 
Principal  and  several  members  of  the  staff  are  always  Euro 
peans.  The  prospectus  states  that  the  College  was  founded 
with  the  following  objects: 

1.  To  establish  a  College  in  which  Musalmans  may  acquire 
an  English  education  without  prejudice  to  their  religion. 

2.  To  organize  a  Boarding-House  to  which  a  parent  may  send 
his  son  in  the  confidence  that  the  boy's  conduct  will  be  care 
fully  supervised,  and  in  which  he  will  be  kept  free  from  the 
temptations  which  beset  a  youth  in  big  towns. 

3.  To  give  as  complete  an  education  as  possible,    which, 
while  developing  intellect,  will  provide  physical  training,  foster 
good  manners,  and  improve  the  moral  character. 

The  following  sentences  from  the  Prospectus  show  how  reli 
gious  instruction  is  given : 

A  Maulvi  of  well-known  learning  and  piety  has  been  specially ; 
appointed  to  supervise  the  religious  life  of  the  students  and" 
conduct  the  prayers  in  the  College  Mosque. 

Religious  instruction  is  given  to  Musalman  students,  to 
Sunnis  by  a  Sunni,  and  to  Shias  by  a  Shia ;  the  books  of  The 
ology  taught  are  prescribed  by  committees  of  orthodox  Sunnis 
and  Shias,  respectively. 

The  first  period  of  each  day's  work  is  devoted  to  the  lectures 
on  Theology,  and  attendance  at  these  lectures  is  enforced  by 
regulations  as  stringent  as  those  regulating  the  ordinary  class 
work  of  the  College. 

Attendance  at  prayers  in  the  College  Mosque  is  also  com 
pulsory,  and  students  who  are  irregular  are  severely  punished. 
Students  are  expected  to  fast  during  the  month  of  Ramzan. 

On  Friday,  the  College  is  closed  at  eleven  so  as  to  allow  the 


MOVEMENTS    FAVOURING    VIGOROUS    REFORM     95 

students  to  attend  at  Juma  prayers,  after  which  a  sermon  is 
delivered  by  the  Resident  Maulvi. 

All  Islamic  festivals  are  observed  as  holidays  in  the  College. 

The  College  has  proved  truly  successful.  It  has  given  the 
Muhammadan  community  new  courage  and  confidence.  A 
striking  succession  of  English  University  men  have  occupied 
the  position  of  Principal,  and  have  succeeded  in  producing 
something  of  the  spirit  and  tone  of  English  public  school  and 
University  life  among  the  students.  A  steady  stream  of  young 
men  of  education  and  character  passes  from  the  College  into 
the  service  of  Government  and  the  professions.  It  has  con 
vinced  thoughtful  Muhammadans  of  the  wisdom  of  accepting 
Western  education.  It  has  proved  a  source  of  enlightenment 
and  progressive  thought.  But,  it  must  be  confessed,  the  reli 
gious  influence  of  the  College  does  not  seem  to  be  at  all  promi 
nent  or  pervasive. 

In  1886  interest  in  modern  education  had  made  so  much 
progress  that  Syed  Ahmad  Khan  was  able  to  start  the  Muham 
madan  Educational  Conference,  which  meets  annually,  now 
in  one  centre  and  now  in  another.  It  has  done  a  great  deal 
to  rouse  Muhammadans  to  their  own  backwardness  and  piti 
able  need.  In  recent  years  a  Conference  pfMuslim  ladies  has 
met  alongside  the  main  Conference  to  deal  with  female  Edu 
cation.1 

4-  With  the  Syed  also  began  the  permeation  of  the  Muham 
madan  community  in  India  with  modern  ideas  in  religion. 

After  the  death  of  Muhammad,  Muslim  teachers  gathered 
all  the  traditions  about  him,  and  sought  to  form  a  systematic 
body  of  doctrine  and  of  law  for  believers.  Orthodoxy  gradu 
ally  took  shape.  The  doctrine  of  the  divine  will  and  the 
divine  decrees  was  stated  in  such  a  form  as  to  make  human 
freedom  almost  an  impossibility.  The  Koran  was  declared  to 
be  the  eternal  and  uncreated  Word  of  God.  Crude  concep- 
1 ISR.,  XXII,  247. 


96     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

tions  of  God  and  His  attributes  became  crystallized  in  Muslim 
doctrine.    Rules  for  family  and  social  life  were  fixed  in  rigid 

form. 

But  as  conquest  brought  vast  territories  of  both  the  East 
and  the  West  under  Islamic  rule,  the  conquerors  came  into 
close  touch  with  Greek  and  Christian  civilization.  At  Bag 
dad,  especially,  the  science  and  philosophy  of  Greece  were 
carefully  cultivated.  Christian  monks  taught  and  translated. 
From  this  living  intercourse  there  arose,  in  the  eighth  century 
A.D.,  a  great  movement  of  Muhammadan  thought.  Learned 
teachers  began  to  defend  the  freedom  of  the  will,  to  speculate 
on  the  nature  of  the  Godhead,  and  to  discuss  the  Koran.  A 
new  school,  the  Mu'tazilites,  arose,  characterized  by  freedom 
of  thought,  great  confidence  in  reason,  and  a  keen  sense  of 
the  importance  of  the  moral  issues  of  life.  They  held  the  free 
dom  of  the  human  will,  pronounced  against  the  doctrine  of 
the  resurrection  of  the  body,  and  declared  that  the  Koran  was 
created  in  time,  and  that  there  was  a  human  element  in  it 
alongside  the  divine.  They  were  opposed  to  polygamy.  But 
this  enlightened  school  was  soon  pronounced  heretical,  and 
passed  out  of  existence. 

It  is  most  interesting  to  note  that  Western  thought  pro 
duced  almost  identical  results  in  India  in  the  nineteenth  cen 
tury.  Early  in  life  Syed  Ahmad  Khan  openly  abandoned  the 
charge,  which  is  so  often  made  by  orthodox  Muhammadans, 
that  Christians  have  seriously  corrupted  the  text  of  the  Old 
^and  New  Testaments.  He  urged  his  fellow-believers  that 
they  should  not  consider  Christians  as  Kafirs  and  enemies, 
and  declared  that  the  Bible  and  the  Koran,  when  rightly 
understood,  did  not  contradict  one  another.  Readers  will 
note  how  closely  his  position  approximates  to  the  teaching 
of  Ram  Mohan  Ray.  The  resemblance  in  many  respects  is 
very  striking :  the  Hindu  leader  published  The  Precepts  of 
Jesus:  the  Muhammadan  reformer  published  a  fragment  of  a 


MOVEMENTS    FAVOURING    VIGOROUS    REFORM     97 

Commentary  on  Genesis,  which  has  been  of  real  service  in 
opening  Muhammadan  minds.    He  held  that  in  the  Koranj  J 
as  in  the  Bible,  we  must  acknowledge  the  presence  of  a  human 
element  as  well  as  a  divine.    The  rest  of  his  religious  concep 
tions  have  been  outlined  by  a  trustworthy  scholar  as  follows : 

But  his  thought  (system  we  cannot  call  it)  is  more  influenced 
by    the    conceptions    of    conscience    and    nature.     Conscience, 
he  says,  is  the  condition  of  man's  character  which  results  from 
training  and  reflection.     It  may  rightly  be  called  his  true  guide 
and  his  real  prophet.     Still,  it  is  liable  to  mutability,  and  needs 
to  be  corrected  from  time  to  time  by  historic  prophets.     Toi 
test  a  prophet  we  must  compare  the  principles  of  his  teaching  j 
with  the  laws  of  nature.     If  it  agrees  with  these  we  are  to  accept 
it,  and  he  quotes  with  approval  the  remark  of  a  French  writer,  • 
that  Islam,  which  lays  no  claim  to  miraculous  powers  on  the 
part  of  the  founder,  is  the  truly  rationalistic  religion.     Muham 
mad,  he  claims,  set  forth  the  Divine  unity  with  the  greatest 
possible  clearness  and  simplicity :  first,  Unity  of  Essence,  which "; 
he  promulgated  afresh;    second,   Unity  of  Attributes,  which 
the  Christians  had  wrongly  hypostatized  in  their  doctrine  of 
the  Trinity ;   third,  Unity  of  Worship  in  the  universal  and  uni 
form  rendering  of  that  devotion  which  is  due  to  God  alone, 
thus  securing  the  doctrine  of  the  Unity  against  all  practical 
encroachments  through  corrupt  observances.1 

He  made  much  of  reason.  One  of  his  phrases  was,  '  Reason 
alone  is  a  sufficient  guide.'  He  spoke  and  wrote  in  favour 
of  Natural  Religion.  Hence  his  followers  are  called  Naturis. 
The  word  has  been  corrupted  into  Necharis,  and  occurs  in 
this  form  in  Census  Reports  and  elsewhere.  The  Syed  won 
the  confidence  of  Government,  became  a  member  of  the 
Viceroy's  Legislative  Council,  and  was  knighted. 

His  principles  have  been  accepted  and  carried  farther  by 
several  writers,  notably  Moulvie  Chiragh  Ali  and  The  Right 

1  Weitbrecht,  Indian  Islam  and  Modern  Thought,  5  (Church  Congress, 
1905)- 


98     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

Hon.  Syed  Amir  All.    Their  work  is  almost  entirely  apologetic. 
They  have  a  double  aim  in  view,  first,  to  defend  Islam  from 
Christian  criticism  and  the  corroding  influences  of  Western 
thought  in  general,  and,  secondly,  to  prove  that  the  religious, 
social,  moral  and  political  reforms,  which,  through  Christian 
teaching,  modem  thought  and  the  pressure  of  the  times,  are 
being  inevitably  forced  on  Muhammadan  society,  are  in  full 
consonance  with  Islam.     As  the  practice  of  Muhammad  him 
self,  Muhammadan  Law  and  orthodox  teaching  are  all  unques 
tionably  opposed  to  these  things,  the  line  of  argument  taken  is 
that  the  spirit l  of  Islam  is  all  in  their  favour,  and  that  every 
thing  else  is  to  be  regarded  as  of  the  nature  of  concessions  to 
human  frailty.    This  theory  is  elaborately  worked  out  in 
gyedAmk. AU's  Spirit  of  Islam.    There  we  are  told  that  the 
Koran  in  reality  discourages  slavery,  religious  war,  polygamy 
and  the  seclusion  of  women.    Of  this  writer  a  competent 
scholar 2  says : 

The  Syed  is  at  the  stage  of  explaining  things  away,  and  it  is 
fair  to  say  that  he  does  it  at  the  expense  of  much  hardly  ingenu 
ous  ingenuity  and  a  good  deal  of  suppressio  veri. 

But  the  very  hopelessness  of  these  positions  from  the  critical 
point  of  view  may  be  to  us  the  measure  of  the  forces  that  are 
driving  the  writers  to  plead  for  the  reforms  and  to  find  justi 
fication  for  them.     Syed  Amir  AH  definitely  identifies  himself 
\  with  the  Mu'tazilite  school,  both  in  their  theology  and  their 
i  social  ideas,  and  believes  that  large  numbers  of  Indian  Mu- 
hammadans  are  with  him  in  his  opinions. 

As  to  the  results  of  the  movement  the  following  statement 
may  suffice : 

The  energies  of  the  reform  movement  at  present  find  their 
vent  in  the  promotion  of  education  and  of  social  reforms. 

1  Cf.  p.  334,  below.         2  D.  B.  Macdonald  in  IRM.,  April  1913,  p.  377- 


MOVEMENTS    FAVOURING    VIGOROUS    REFORM     99 

The  Aligarh  College,  under  a  series  of  capable  English  prin 
cipals  and  professors,  is  training  up  a  new  generation  of  Muham- 
madan  gentlemen  in  an  atmosphere  of  manly  culture  and  good 
breeding,  with  high  ethical  ideals.  The  yearly  meeting  of 
the  Educational  Conference  both  works  practically  for  the  ad 
vancement  of  enlightenment  among  Indian  Muhammadans 
and  also  affords  an  opportunity  for  exchange  of  thought  and 
propagation  of  reforming  ideas.  Thus  some  years  ago  a  lead 
ing  Muhammadan  gentleman  known  as  the  Agha  Khan,  when 
presiding  over  the  Conference  at  Madras,  trenchantly  impressed 
upon  his  hearers  that  the  progress  of  the  community  was  chiefly 
hindered  by  three  evils :  by  the  seclusion  and  non-education  of 
women,  by  theoretical  and  practical  fatalism,  ancf  by  religious 
formalism;  an  enlightened  self-criticism  which  commands 
sympathy  and  admiration.  The  questions  of  polygamy  and 
female  seclusion  are  being  actively  debated  in  the  press  and  other 
wise,  and  some  leading  Muhammadan  gentry  have  broken 
the  ordinance  of  the  veil  and  appear  in  public  with  their  wives 
and  daughters  in  European  dress. 

As  far  as  regards  theological  thought,  competent  Indian 
observers  are  of  opinion  that  the  rationalism  of  Sir  Syed  Ahmad 
is  not  at  present  being  developed;  but  that  there  is  rather  a 
relapse  towards  a  passive  acceptance  of  Muslim  orthodoxy.1 
Still,  there  is  no  doubt  that  the  movement  has  tended  to  in 
crease  openness  and  fairness  of  mind  among  the  educated  classes.2 

A  few  educated  Indian  Muhammadans  during  recent  years 
have  reached  a  more  advanced  position.  Mr.  S.  Khuda 
Bukhsh,  M.A.,  one  of  the  Professors  of  the  Presidency  College, 
Calcutta,  has  published  a  volume  entitled,  Essays,  Indian  and 
Islamic,  which  the  present  writer  has  not  seen,  but  which  is 
characterized  as  follows  by  one  of  our  best  scholars : 

He  has  read  his  Goldziher  and  accepts  his  positions.  He 
knows  what  a  monogamous  marriage  means  and  confesses 
frankly  the  gulf  between  it  and  marriage  in  Islam;  and  he 
does  not  try  to  prove  that  Islam  does  not  sanction  polygamy. 

1  P.  347,  below.  2  Weitbrecht,  p.  7. 


ioo     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

With  similar  candour  he  views  the  other  broad  differences  of 
East  and  West.  How,  then,  is  he  a  Moslem  ?  He  would  go 
back  to  the  Koran  and  Mohammed  and  would  sweep  away  all 
the  labours  of  the  schoolman  by  which  these  have  been  over 
laid.  Above  all  he  is  fascinated  by  the  music  and  magic  of 
the  Koran.  That  book  and  a  broad  feeling  of  loyalty  to  the 
traditions  of  his  ancestors  are  evidently  the  forces  which  hold 
him.1 

It  is  probably  true,  as  the  Right  Hon.  Syed  Amir  All  said 
to  me,  that  there  are  very  few  indeed  who  are  ready  to 
follow  Mr.  Bukhsh.  For  the  modern  conservative  move 
ment  among  Muslims  see  p.  347. 

LITERATURE.—  Sir  Syed  Ahmad  Khan,  by  General  Graham,  Lon 
don,  Hodder,  1909.  Sir  Syed  Ahmed  Khan,  Madras,  Natesan, 
as.  4.  The  Spirit  of  Islam,  by  Syed  Amir  AH,  Calcutta,  Lahiri 
and  Co.,  1890.  Essays,  Indian  and  Islamic,  by  Khuda  Bukhsh, 
London,  Probsthain,  1912,  js.  6d.  net. 

1  D.  B.  Macdonald,  IRM.,  April,  1913,  p.  378. 


CHAPTER  III 

REFORM  CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  FAITHS 

1870-1913 

WE  have  seen  in  the  historical  outline  that  about  1870  a 
great  change  began  to  make  itself  manifest  in  the  Hindu  spirit. 
The  educated  Indian  suddenly  grew  up,  and  shewed  that  he 
had  a  mind  of  his  own.  Religiously,  the  change  manifested 
itself  in  a  disposition  to  proclaim  Hinduism  one  of  the  greatest 
religions.  The  same  temper  appeared  among  Buddhists, 
Jains,  Muslims  and  Parsees ;  but  the  movement  shewed  itself, 
first  of  all,  among  Hindus.  It  also  took  many  forms.  We 
propose  to  divide  the  many  movements  and  organizations 
incarnating  this  spirit  into  two  groups,  according  as  they 
defend  only  a  part  or  the  whole  of  the  ancient  faith.  This 
chapter  will  deal  with  those  that  defend  only  a  part.  Every 
movement  in  this  group  opposes  Hindu  idolatry ;  but  several 
of  them  worship  their  gurus,  a  practice  which  leads  to  idolatry. 
The  attitude  to  caste  in  all  cases  is  very  ambiguous. 

i.  THE  ARYA  SAMAJ 

i .  This  powerful  body,  which  during  the  last  twenty  years 
has  expanded  rapidly  in  the  Panjab  and  the  United  Provinces, 
is  so  completely  the  creation  of  its  founder  that  a  brief  sketch 
of  his  life  is  the  indispensable  introduction  to  a  study  of  the 
movement. 

For  the  first  thirty-three  years  of  his  life  we  have  a  very 
clear  and  informing  witness,  a  fragment  of  an  autobiography, 
dictated  by  him,  and  published  in  the  Theosophist,  in  October 


102     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

and  December,  1879,  and  November,  iSSo.1  This  sketch 
seems  to  be  on  the  whole  trustworthy.  It  certainly  enables 
us  to  trace  in  some  degree  the  growth  of  his  mind  during  the 
period  which  it  covers. 

In  the  small  town  of  Tankara,2  belonging  to  the  native  state 
of  Morvi,  Kajhiawar,  Western  India,  there  lived  early  last 
century^  wealthy  Brahman,  named  Amba  Sankara.  He  held 
the  position  of  Jamadar  of  the  town,  which  his  fathers  had 
held  before  him,  and  was  a  banker  besides.  He  was  a  devout 
ffiri^u,  an  ardent  and  fajthfulj^o^sjn^  To  this 

man  was  born,  in  1824,  a  son,  whom  he  named  Mula  Sankara. 
The  father  was  above  all  things  anxious  that  the  boy  should 
prove  a  religious  man  and  should  accept  his  father's  religion. 
Accordingly  he  was  careful  to  give  him  a  Hindu  education. 
By  the  time  he  was  fourteen  the  boy  had  learnt  by  heart 
large  pieces  of  the  Vedas  and  had  made  some  progress  in 
Sanskrit  grammar. 

At  this  time  the  first  crisis  in  his  life  occurred.  As  the 
incident  is  one  of  the  most  vivid  episodes  in  the  Autobi 
ography*  we  give  it  in  his  own  words : 

When  the  great  day  of  gloom  and  fasting  —  called  Sivaratrl 
—  had  arrived,  this  day  falling  on  the  isth  of  Vadya  of  Magh, 
my  father,  regardless  of  the  protest  that  my  strength  might  fail, 
commanded  me  to  fast,  adding  that  I  had  to  be  initiated  on 
that  night  into  the  sacred  legend,  and  participate  in  that  night's 
long  vigil  in  the  temple  of  Siva.  Accordingly,  I  followed  him 
along  with  other  young  men,  who  accompanied  their  parents. 
This  vigil  is  divided  into  four  parts,  called  praharas,  consisting 
of  three  hours  each.  Having  completed  my  task,  namely, 
having  sat  up  for  the  first  two  praharas  till  the  hour  of  mid- 

1  Republished  as  an  introduction  to  the  English  translation  of  the 
Satyarth  Prakash,  by  Durga  Prasad. 

2  For  the  name  of  the  town  I  am  indebted  to  Mrs.  Sinclair  Stevenson  of 
Rajkot,  and  also  for  the  names  of  the  father  and  the  son. 

3  Pp.  2-3. 


REFORM  CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD  FAITHS  103 

night,  I  remarked  that  the  Pujaris,  or  temple  servants,  and  some 
of  the  lay  devotees,  after  having  left  the  inner  temple,  had 
fallen  asleep  outside.  Having  been  taught  for  years  that  by 
sleeping  on  that  particular  night,  the  worshipper  lost  all  the 
good  effect  of  his  devotion,  I  tried  to  refrain  from  drowsiness 
by  bathing  my  eyes  now  and  then  with  cold  water.  But  my 
father  was  less  fortunate.  Unable  to  resist  fatigue,  he  was 
the  first  to  fall  asleep,  leaving  me  to  watch  alone. 

Thoughts  upon  thoughts  crowded  upon  me,  and  one  ques 
tion  arose  after  the  other  in  my  disturbed  mind.    Is  it  possible,  ( 
—  I  asked  myself.  —  that  this  semblance  of  man,  the  idol  of  a ' 
personal  God  that  I  see  bestriding  his  bull  before  me,  and  who,) 
according  to  all  religious  accounts,  walks  about,  eats,  sleeps' 
and  drinks ;  who  can  hold  a  trident  in  his  hand,  beat  upon  his  i 
damaru  drum,  and  pronounce  curses  upon  men,  —  is   it   pos-  f 
sible  that  he  can  be  the  Mahadeva,  the  Great  Deity,  the  same  v 
that  is  invoked  as  the  Lord  of  Kailash,  the  Supreme  Being  and  J 
the  Divine  hero  of  all  the  stories  we  read  of  him  in  his   Pu-, 
ranas  ?     Unable  to  resist  such  thoughts  any  longer,  I  awoke  my 
father,  abruptly  asking  him  to  enlighten  me,  to  tell  me  whether 
this  hideous  emblem  of  Siva  in  the  temple  was  identical  with  the 
Mahadeva,  of  the  scriptures,  or  something  else.     "Why   do 
you  ask  it?"  said  my  father.     "Because,"  I  answered,  "I  feel/ 
it  impossible  to  reconcile  the  idea  of  an  omnipotent,  living  God,/ 
with  this  idol,  which  allows  the  mice  to  run  upon  its  body,  and  j 
thus  suffers  its  image  to  be  polluted  without  the  slightest  pro 
test."     Then  my  father  tried  to  explain  to  me  that  this  stone 
representation  of  the  Mahadeva  of  Kailash,  having  been  con 
secrated  with  the  Veda  mantras  (verses)  in  the  most  solemn 
way  by  the  holy  Brahmins,  became,  in  consequence,  the  God 
himself,  and  is  worshipped  as  such,  adding  that,  as  Siva  cannot 
be  perceived  personally  in  this  Kali-Yuga  —  the  age  of  mental 
darkness,  —  we  hence  have  the  idol  in  which  the  Mahadeva 
of  Kailash  is  worshipped  by  his  votaries ;   this  kind  of  worship 
is  pleasing  to  the  great  Deity  as  much  as  if,  instead  of  the  em 
blem,  he  were  there  himself.     But  the  explanation  fell  short  of  > 
satisfying  me.    I  could  not,  young  as  I  was,  help  suspecting  j 
misinterpretation    and    sophistry   in    all    this.     Feeling    faint  < 
with  hunger  and  fatigue,  I  begged  to  be  allowed  to  go  home.  * 


104     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

My  father  consented  to  it,  and  sent  me  away  with  a  Sepoy, 
only  reiterating  once  more  his  command  that  I  should  not  eat. 
But  when,  once  home,  I  had  told  my  mother  of  my  hunger,  she 
fed  me  with  sweetmeats,  and  I  fell  into  a  profound  sleep. 

Every  one  will  feel  the  beat  of  conviction  in  this  fine  pas 
sage  ;  and  the  results  of  it  are  visible  in  the  cnis^ej)|_gie 
Arxa^maj^a^ajnst  idolatry  to  this  day.  But  every  one  who 
knows  India  will  also  agree  that  what  happened  is  scarcely 
comprehensible  in  a  Hindu  boy  of  fourteen  years  of  age,  unless 
he  had  already  heard  idolatry  condemned.  Brooding  over  the 
problem,  I  wrote  to  my  friend,  Mrs.  Sinclair  Stevenson  of 
Rajkot,  Kathiawar,  and  asked  whether  Sthanakavasi  influence 
could  be  traced  in  or  about  the  boy's  birth-place  at  that  time. 
The  Sthanakavasis  are  a  group  of  Jains  who  gave  up  idolatry 
and  broke  away  from  the  main  Svetambara  sect  in  the  fifteenth 
century.1  Mrs.  Stevenson  writes : 

Tahkara  is  fourteen  miles  south  of  Morvi,  and  about  twenty- 
three  miles  north  of  Rajkot.  In  the  thirties,  the  father  of 
the  present  Thakur  Saheb  of  Morvi  was  ruling.  He  was  very 
devoted  to  a  certain  Sthanakavasi  monk,  and  the  Prime  Minis 
ter  also  was  a  Sthanakavasi;  so  that  the  sect  was  then  very 
powerful  and  influential  in  the  Morvi  state.  All  monks  and 
nuns,  travelling  from  the  town  of  Morvi  to  Rajkot  (another 
Sthanakavasi  stronghold),  passed  through  Tankara,  where 
Amba  Sankara  and  his  son  lived. 

This  clearly  gives  the  environment  which  prepared  the  boy 
for  his  experience  in  the  temple. 

Four  years  later  the  sudden  death  of  a  sister  convulsed  him 
with  grief,  and  made  him  realize  to  the  full  the  horror  of  death. 
He  thereupon  resolved  that  he  would  allow  nothing  to  restrain 
him  from  winning  moksha,  that  is,  emancipation  from  transmi 
gration,  the  Hindu  idea  of  salvation.  Consequently,  he  re 
turned  to  his  studies  with  redoubled  energy,  and  made  up  his 
1  P.  326,  below. 


REFORM  CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD  FAITHS  105 

mind  to  allow  no  such  entanglement  as  marnajge  to  impede  him 
in  his  quest.  In  1846,  when  he  was  twenty-one  or  twenty- two, 
his  parents  determined  to  get  him  married ;  but  hejledjrom 
home.  Thus  ends  the  first  section  of  his  life. 

2.  In  his  wanderings  he  met  a  number  of  ascetics,  who  re 
ceived  him  into  their  order.  His  father  came  out  to  seek 
for  him  and  caught  him,  but  he  escaped  once  more.  He  then 
met  with  a  sannyasi  named  Brahmanand,  and  by  him  was 
convinced  of  the  truth  of  the  Vedanta  doctrine  of  the  identity 
of  his  own  soul  and  God.  This  he  gave  up  at  a  later  date. 
For  two  years  he  wandered  about,  seeking  good  teachers. 

In  1848  he  proceeded  to  Chanoda  Kanyali  on  the  banks  of 
the  river  Nerbudda,  and  met  several  groups  of  scholarly 
ascetics,  some  of  them  followers  of  the  Yoga  system,  others  of 
the  Vedanta.  He  was  most  anxious  to  become  an  initiated 
sann^ast,  that  is,  a  Hindu  monk  who  has  renounced  the  world 
completely.  He  gives  up  caste^  home,  marriage^  property, 
the  use  of  money  ancToTnre,  and  is  expected  to  live  a  wander 
ing  life.  If  he  were  once  received  into  one  of  the  recognized 
orders  of  sannyasis,  his  parents  could  no  longer  bring  pressure 
upon  him  to  marry.  At  length  he  begged  an  ascetic  known  as 
Paramananda,  belonging  to  the  SarasvatI  order  of  Sankara's 
Dandis,  to  receive  him.  At  first  he  refused,  but,  after  much 
persuasion,  he  initiated  him,  giving  him  the  name  Dayjmajicja. 
Since  he  had  thereby  become  a  member  of  the  SarasvatI  order, 
he  was  henceforward  known  as  Dayananda  SarasvatI.  Until 
the  day  of  his  death  he  would  tell  no  one  his  real  name. 

From  this  time  onwards  for  eight  years  he  wandered  about 
from  place  to  place,  tQdngJx^ndJ^^ 
Yoga.  His  A  utobiography  does  not  tell  us  why  he  was  so  eager 
tolearn  Yoga  methods ;  but  he  probably  regarded  them  as 
the  proper  means  for  reaching  the  emancipation  which  he  was 
so  desirous  to  reach. 

Either  at  the  time  of  his  initiation  as  a  sannyasi,  or  at  some 


io6     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 


point  during  these  years,  he 
Sankara,  and  came  to  believe  that  Godjs^ersonal,  that  the 
human  soul  is  distinctjr^mjjod,  and  that  the  world  is  real. 
HedoeTnot  tell  us  who  the  teachers  were  who  led  him  to  these 
opinions.  They  are  probably  the  outcome  of  the  modern 
influences  he  came  under,  and  of  his  original  belief  in  Siva. 

In  any  case  he  continued  to  worship  Siva,  and  believed  in  the 
j  ^*^f*-\^^-*i*^^—**^^~>^*~**-^*~~ 

personality  of  God. 

His  books  on  Yoga  contained  anatomical  accounts  of  the 

human  body.     Reading  in  these  volumes  long  and  intricate 

descriptions  of  nerve-circles  and  nerve-centres  which  he  could 

not  understand,  he  was  suddenly  rilled  with  suspicion.     As  it 

happened,  a  dead  body  was  floating  down  the  river  on  the 

banks  of  which  he  was  walking.     He  drew  the  corpse  to  the 

I  shore,  cut  it  open,  satisfied  himself  that  the  books  were  false, 

and  in  consequence  consigned  them  to  the  river  along  with  the 

'  corpse.     From  this  time  his  faith  in  many  works  on  Yoga 

gradually  dwindled. 

The  Autobiography  stqgs^iort  atjhe  teginning  of  1857, 
and  we  are  without  information  of  his  activities  until  1860. 
Thus  there  is  no  echo  of  the  Indian  Mutiny  whatsoever  in 
his  life. 

He  had  been  greatly  disappointed  in  his  search  for  compe 
tent  teachers.1  In  1860,  however,  he  came  across  a  blind 
Brahman  in  the  city  of  Mathug,  (Muttra),  and  became  his 
disciple  for  two  and  a  half  years.  His  master,  whose  name  was 
Virajananda,was  a  great  authority  on  Panini's  Grammar.  He 
believed  implicitly  in  the  authority  of  the  ancient  books,  but 
condemned  all  modern  Sanskrit  religious  works  as  worthless 
lies.  He  would  not  accept  Dayananda  as  a  disciple  until  the 
latter  had  sunk  all  his  modern  books  in  the  river  Jumna. 
Blind  and  learned  though  he  was,  he  was  a  very  irritable  man, 

1  For  the  remainder  of  Dayananda's  life  see  his  Life  by  Bawa  Chhajju 
Singh. 


REFORM  CHECKED   BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD  FAITHS  107 

and  would  now  and  then  give  his  disciple  corporal  chastise-  fr 
ment.  One  day  he  struck  him  on  the  hand  with  a  stick  with  * 
such  violence  that  he  carried  the  mark  of  it  all  his  life.  This 
man  influenced  Dayananda  more  than  any  other.  He  read 
with  him  Panini's  Grammar  and  Patanjali's  Commentary  on 
it.  We  are  also  told  that  he  studied  the  Vedanta-sutras  and 
many  other  books,  but  what  these  other  books  were,  we  do 
not  know.  Whether  it  was  from  Virajananda  that  he  learned 
the  extraordinary  method  of  expounding  the  Vedas  which  he 
used  in  writing  his  Commentaries  in  later  years,  we  do  not 
know.  But  his  teacher  certainly  sketched  his  mission  for  him. 
When  he  was  leaving,  Virajananda  said  to  him : 

The  Vedas  have  long  ceased  to  be  taught  in  Bharatvarsha, 
I  go  and  teach  them;  teach  the  true  Shastras,  and  dispel,  by 
?  their  light,  the  darkness  which  the  false  creeds  have  given 
J  birth  to.  Remember  that,  while  works  by  common  men  are 
.  utterly  misleading  as  to  the  nature  and  attributes  of  the  one 
Urue  God,  and  slander  the  great  Rishis  and  Munis,  those  by 

the  ancient  teachers  are  free  from  such  a  blemish.  This  is 
$  the  test  which  will  enable  you  to  differentiate  the  true,  ancient 

teaching  from  the  writings  of  ordinary  men.1 

It  was  in  May,  1863,  that  he  took  leave  of  his  master  and 
began  his  wanderings  once  more.  He  now  regarded  himself  as 
a  learned  man,  and  usually  conversed  in  Sanskrit  rather  than 
in  the  vernacular  Hindi.  Although  he  had  many  a  conversa 
tion  and  discussion  during  those  years,  he  still  thought  of  him 
self  as  a  religious  student  and  not  as  a  teacher.  When  he 
started  out,  he  was  still__a^^y^itee^o^Siva,  wearing  the  neck 
lace  of  rudraksha  berries,  and  the  three  lines  of  white  ash  on  the 
forehead,  which  distinguish  the  pious  Saiva.  But  jji  the 
course^ofjiis  w^mdejrinj^Jn^^  and  he  laid  these 

things  aside  once  for  all.    Henceforward  he  worshipped  God, 
and  recognized  Siva  as  onjv^oji£j)fjh£^  of  thie 

1  Chhajju  Singh,  77. 


io8     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

Supreme.    This  change  seems  to  have  come  in  the  year  1866, 

which  was  clearly  a  time  of  crisis  for  him.     During  that  year 

he  came  in  contac^mth^various  missionaries,  and  had  long 

conversations  with  them.     The  same  year  finds  him  not  only 

I  preaching  against  idolatry  at  Hardwar,  but  telling  the  pilgrims 

'  there  that  sacred  spots  and  ceremonial  bathing  are  of  no  reli- 

{  gious  value  whatsoever,  and  denouncing  the  great  Vaishnava 

1  book,  the  Bhdgavata  Pur  ana,  as  immoral. 

3.  A  further  change  came  in  the  year  1868.  Virajananda 
and  he  seem  both  to  have  felt  that  it  was  now  his  duty  to  be 
gin  the  public  exposition  of  his  ideas.  From  this  time,  then, 
Dayananda's  publicjife_  may^jDe^ajcM,^^!^^  His 

biographer  speaks  of  him  as  trying  several  methods  of  work, 
and  finding  them  each  more  or  less  a  failure. 

His  first  plan  was  to  talk  to  the  pandits  in  Sanskrit,  in  the 
hope  that,  if  he  convinced  them  of  the  truth  of  his  ideas,  they 
would  spread  the  light  all  over  the  land.  But  these  old- 
fashioned  conservatives,  no  matter  how  often  convicted  of 
error,  were  of  the  same  opinion  still.  So  he  gave  the  course 
up  in  despair. 

He  next  decided  to  adopt  one  of  the  methods  which  he  had 
seen  in  use  in  Christian  missions,  namely  education.  He 
found  some  well-to-do  men  to  finance  several  schools  for  him. 
The  curriculum  was  to  be  confined  to  early  Sanskrit  literature. 
He  hoped  that  pupils  trained  in  this  way  would  become  mis 
sionaries  of  his  ideas.  The  schools  were  opened,  and  continued 
for  some  time ;  but,  though  the  pandits  were  quite  willing  to 
receive  his  pay  and  become  schoolmasters,  they  did  not  teach 
the  new  ideas ;  and  the  work  came  to  nothing. 

Consequently,  he  determined  to  appeal  to  the  people  them 
selves,  both  by  lectures  and  by  books.  He  published  a  num 
ber  of  books,  and  went  from  town  to  town,  delivering  lectures, 
in  Sanskrit,  on  the  right  interpretation  of  the  Vedas  and  the 
teaching  which  he  believed  they  gave.  This  method  was 


REFORM  CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD  FAITHS  109 

more  successful.  He  found  it  quite  possible  to  draw  huge 
audiences  wherever  he  went,  and  to  get  the  ear,  not  only  of 
ordinary  men,  but  of  the  wealthy.  He  had  many  conversa 
tions  with  individuals,  but  consistently  refused  to  speak  to 
women.  Wherever  it  was  possible,  he  met  the  pandits  in 
discussion.  He  was  specially  anxious  to  prove  in  every  place, 
in  public  discussion  with  the  most  learned  men,  that  idolatry 
has  not  the  sanction  of  the  Vedas.  His  followers  declare  he 
was  always  victorious  in  these  discussions.  All  those  who 
met  him  in  discussion  declared  him  to  be  violent,  loud-tongued 
and  overbearing.  He  still  lived  like  a  sannyasi,  wearing  only 
a  minimum  of  clothing.  He  was  a  large,  powerful  man  with 
striking  features,  and  rather  a  remarkable  voice. 

In  the  end  of  1^2  he  went  down  to  Calcutta,  and  spent  four 
months  there,  lecturing,  speaking  and  discussing.  He  had 
been  above  all  things  anxious  to  meet  Keshab  Chandra  Sen ; 
and  it  is  clear  that  Kesjiab  and  the  Samaj^ejejcjs^d^a^verj7 
woncterfuj^injl^^  Two  changes  in  his  method 

date  from  this  time.  He  began  to  wear  regular  clothes ;  and 
a  picture  which  still  survives  shows  that  he  must  have  copied 
the  Brahma  leaders,  whose  dress  was  a  modification  of  mission- 
ary  costume.  Secondly,  he  realized,  from  the  great  influence 
exercised  by  Keshab  and  the  other  Brahma  leaders  through 
their  addresses  in  Bengali,  that  he  ought  to  give  up  using 
Sanskrit  in  his  public  lectures  and  speak  in  Hindi  instead. 

4.  His  fame  and  influence  continued  to  spread  and  become 
deeper,  as  he  taught  far  and  wide  throughout  North  India. 
At  Allahabad  in  1874  he  completed  his  Satyarth  Prakdsh, 
with  which  we  shall  have  to  deal  later.  In  the  end  of  1874 
we  find  him  in  Bombay,  in  close  touch  both  with  the  Hindu 
community  and  the  young  Prarthana  Samaj.1  He  seems  to 
have  had  more  than  usual  success  in  the  city ;  for  he  returned 
early  in  1875,  and  there  launched  his  great  scheme,  the  foun- 
1  P.  76,  above. 


J 


no     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

dation  of  the  Arya  Samaj.  The  members  of  the  Prarthana 
Samaj  had  hoped  to  be  able  to  unite  with  him,  but  the  differ 
ences  were  too  deep.  It  is  clear,  however,  that  the  main  fea 
tures  of  his  society  were  borrowed  directly  from  the  Brahma 
and  Prarthana  Samajes,  as  he  saw  them  working  in  Calcutta, 
Bombay  and  elsewhere.  The  common  name  covers  common 
features.  This  may  be  taken  as  the  end  of  the  third,  and  the 
beginning  of  the  last,  stage  of  his  life. 

On  the  first  of  January,  1877,  Queen  Victoria  was  proclaimed 
Empress  of  India  in  a  magnificent  Durbar  held  by  the  Viceroy, 
Lord  Lytton,  at  Delhi.  Dayananda  was  present  as  the  guest 
of  one  of  the  native  princes,  and  met  some  Hindus  from  La 
hore,  who  gave  him  a  pressing  invitation  to  visit  the  Panjab. 
Shortly  after  he  visited  Ludhiana  and  Lahore.  So  great  was 
his  success  in  this  latter  city,  that  the  Arya  Samaj  founded 
there  very  speedily  eclipsed  the  society  founded  in  Bombay ; 
and  Lahore  became  the  headquarters  of  the  movement. 

For  six  years  longer  Dayananda  lived  and  worked,  touring 
throughout  North  India,  and  steadily  extending  the  Samaj. 
There  are  just  two  matters  to  be  noted  during  these  years. 
The  first  is  his  connection  with  the  Theosophical  Society 
which  had  been  founded  in  New  York  in  1875.  In  1878  the 
founders,  Col.  Olcott  and  Madame  Blavatsky,  wrote  to  Daya 
nanda  and  suggested  a  union  of  the  two  movements,  on  the 
ground  that  their  aim  was  the  same;  and  Dayananda  ac 
cepted  the  proposal.  The  Theosophist  leaders  came  to  India 
in  January,  1879 ;  and  the  strange  union  continued  until  1881, 
when  it  was  broken  off,  both  parties  feeling  bitter  and  ag 
grieved.1 

The  other  matter  is  a  living  part  of  his  general  policy.  He 
consistently  sought  to  recall  the  Hindus  to  what  he  conceived 
to  be  the  ancient  faith,  and  as  consistently  stirred  them  up 
to  vehement  opposition  to  Christianity  and  Muhammadan- 

1  Chhajju  Singh,  476-532  ;  ODL.,  I,  135  ;  396  ff.     Below,  pp.  218,  226. 


REFORM  CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD  FAITHS  in 

ism.  In  the  first  edition  of  the  Satydrth  Prakdsh,1  published 
in  1874,  he  approved  of  beef-eating  under  certain  conditions, 
but  in  the  second  edition  it  is  condemned.  In  1882  he  formed 
the  Gaurakshini  Sabhd,2  or  Cow-protecting  Association,  and 
about  the  same  time  published  his  book,  Gokarunanidhi?  on 
the  same  subject.  The  purpose  was  to  rouse  Hindu  feeling 
against  Christians  and  Muhammadans  on  account  of  the 
killing  of  cows  and  oxen,  and  to  present  a  monster  petition 
to  Government,4  begging  that  the  practice  might  be  prohib 
ited.  Dayananda  died  before  the  movement  had  spread 
very  far ;  but  later  it  attained  great  proportions,  as  we  shall 
see.5  In  this  connection  Sir  Valentine  Chirol  has  suggested 6 
that  Dayananda  was  a  political  schemer.  This  we  believe 
to  be  a  complete  mistake,  although,  as  we  shall  show,  his  un 
healthy  teaching  has  produced  very  unhealthy  political  fruit.7 

He  passed  away  on  the  3oth  of  October,  1883,  at  the  age  of 
fifty-nine. 

5.  The  following  sketch  of  his  position  and  aims  by  Dr. 
Griswold  of  Lahore  is  so  vivid  and  convincing  that  we  cannot 
do  better  than  transcribe  it : 

Pandit  Dayanand  Sarasvati  became  finally  emancipated 
from  the  authority  of  Brahmanism  in  some  such  way  as  Luther 
became  emancipated  from  the  authority  of  the  Church  of  Rome. 
Luther  appealed  from  the  Roman  Church  and  the  authority 
of  tradition  to  the  Scriptures  of  the  Old  and  New  Testament. 
Pandit  Dayanand  Sarasvati  appealed  from  the  Brahmanical 
Church  and  the  authority  of  Smriti  to  the  earliest  and  most 
Sacred  of  Indian  Scriptures.  The  watchword  of  Luther  was 
'Back  to  the  Bible' :  the  watchword  of  Pandit  Dayanand  was 
'Back  to  the  Vedas.'  With  this  religious  watchword  another 
watchword  was  implicitly,  if  not  explicitly,  combined,  namely 

1  P.  302.     Also  Sanskdr  Vidhi,  n  ;  42.  6  P.  358,  below. 

2  Chhajju  Singh,  726-30.  6  Indian  Unrest,  109  ff. 

3  Ib.,  721.  7  P.  358,  below. 

4  Ib.,  730. 


112     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

'India  for  the  Indians.'  Combining  these  two,  we  have  the 
principle,  both  religious  and  political,  that  the  religion  of  India 
as  well  as  the  Sovereignty  of  India  ought  to  belong  to  the  Indian 
people;  in  other  words,  Indian  religion  for  the  Indians,  and 
Indian  Sovereignty  for  the  Indians.  In  order  to  accomplish 
the  first  end,  Indian  religion  was  to  be  reformed  and  purified 
by  a  return  to  the  Vedas,  and  foreign  religions  as  Islam  and 
Christianity  were  to  be  extirpated.  Thus  the  program  included 
reform  for  indigenous  religion  and  extirpation  for  foreign  reli 
gion.  With  regard  to  the  second  end,  the  founder  of  the  Arya 
Samaj  seems  to  have  taught  that  a  return  to  the  pure  teachings 
of  the  Vedas  would  gradually  fit  the  people  of  India  for  self- 
rule  and  that  independence  would  ultimately  come  to  them.  I 
am  not  charging  Pandit  Dayanand  Sarasvati  with  disloyalty. 
Every  sincere  well-wisher  of  India  hopes  that  the  time  will 
come  when  the  Indian  people  through  the  spread  of  education 
and  the  removal  of  bad  social  customs  and  above  all  through 
the  prevalence  of  true  religion  will  befitted  for  Self-government. 
It  is  evident  from  all  this  that  Pandit  Dayanand  Sarasvati  was 
a  man  of  large  views.  He  was  a  dreamer  of  splendid  dreams.  He 
had  a  vision  of  India  purged  of  her  superstitions,  filled  with  the 
fruits  of  Science,  worshipping  one  God,  fitted  for  self-rule, 
having  a  place  in  the  sisterhood  of  nations,  and  restored  to  her 
ancient  glory.  All  this  was  to  be  accomplished  by  throwing 
overboard  the  accumulated  superstitions  of  the  centuries  and 
returning  to  the  pure  and  inspired  teachings  of  the  Vedas. 
Thus  the  founder  of  the  Arya  Samaj  was  a  kind  of  Indian  Elijah 
or  John  the  Baptist,  who  felt  himself  called  to  turn  the  hearts 
of  the  degenerate  children  of  modern  India  to  their  fathers 
of  the  glorious  Vedic  age,  to  reconcile  the  present  with  the 
past.  The  character  of  his  mission  helps  to  account  for  the 
violence  of  his  methods  of  controversy.  Elijah  was  not  specially 
gentle  in  his  dealings  with  the  prophets  of  Baal;  nor  was 
Luther  very  tender  toward  the  Roman  Church.  In  like  manner 
Pandit  Dayanand  Sarasvati  stood  with  his  back  to  the  wall, 
facing  on  the  one  hand  the  attacks  of  the  Brahmanical  hier 
archy  and  on  the  other  the  assaults  of  the  foreign  religions, 
Islam  and  Christianity.  Under  these  circumstances  we  can 
hardly  wonder  that  he  struck  back  as  hard  as  he  could.  Luther 


REFORM  CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD  FAITHS  113 

dealt  heavy  blows  at  the  Roman  Church  as  Pandit  Dayanand 
did  at  the  Brahmanical  Church.  Suppose  now  that  while 
Luther  was  fighting  with  Rome,  an  extensive  and  powerful 
Mohammedan  propaganda,  which  threatened  to  devour  all  the 
fruits  of  the  Reformation,  was  found  all  over  Europe.  What 
would  Luther  have  done  under  these  circumstances,  but  smite 
the  apostate  Roman  Church  at  home  and  the  Mohammedan 
propaganda  from  abroad  with  impartial  zeal  and  violence  and 
with  no  great  effort  to  be  fair  and  appreciative.  This  illus 
trates  exactly  Panolit  Dayanand's  attitude  toward  the  degen 
erate  Brahmanical  Church,  on  the  one  hand,  and  the  foreign 
faiths  Christianity  and  Islam  on  the  other.  In  his  opinion, 
the  one  needed  to  be  purged  and  pruned;  the  others,  to  be 
extirpated.  The  sections  in  the  Satyarth  Prakdsh  which  deal 
with  the  criticism  of  Islam  and  Christianity  are  evidently  in 
tended  to  be  the  literature  of  such  extirpation,  i.e.,  to  be  the 
means  of  rooting  out  all  such  foreign  superstitions  from  the 
hearts  of  the  sons  of  India.  For  extreme  unfairness,  for  in 
ability  to  state  the  position  of  opponents  without  caricature, 
and  for  general  crudeness,  these  sections  can  hardly  be  matched 
in  the  whole  literature  of  religious  controversy.1 

6.  Dayananda's  chief  convictions  may  be  summed  up  as 
follows : 

a.  There  is  one  God  only.    He  alone  is  to  be  worshipped ; 
and  he  must  be  worshipped  spiritually,  not  by  images. 

b.  The  four  Vedas  are  God's  knowledge.     They  contain  all 
religious  truth,  and  also  all  science,  at  least  in  germ.     They 
are  the  eternal  utterance  of  God.     There  is  no  thing  temporary 
or  local  in  them.     Everything  which  seems  a  reference  to  par 
ticular  times  and  places  only  seems  such  through  miscon 
ception.     There  is  no  polytheism  in  the  Vedas.     The  many 
divine  names  which  occur  in  them  are  all  epithets  of  the  one 
true  God.     These  statements  apply  only  to  the  collections  of 
hymns.     The  Brahmanas  have  less  authority.     Many  other 
Hindu  books  are  of  value,  because  they  were  written  by 

1  Indian  Evangelical  Review,  January,  1892. 
I 


H4     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

rishis  and  other  inspired  men,  but  they  are  not  authoritative 
in  the  same  sense  as  the  Vedas ;  and  they  are  not  to  be  followed 
where  they  contradict  the  Vedas. 

c.  The  Vedas  teach  transmigration  and  karma. 

d.  Forgiveness  is  for  ever  impossible. 

e.  Salvation  is  emancipation  from  transmigration. 
The  following  are  Dayananda's  chief  works : 

(1)  Satyarth  Prakash,   a   Hindi  work,   setting   forth   his 
teaching  on  marriage,  the  bearing  of  children,  education,  the 
ascetic  orders,  government,  God,  the  Vedas,  the  world,  man, 
salvation  and  food,  and  a  long  and  interesting  description  of 
the  various  creeds  of  India  with  Dayananda's  criticism  of  them. 

(2)  Veda  Bhashya,  a  Vedic  Commentary  in  Sanskrit.    It 
is  incomplete,  yet  covers  the  whole  of  the  Yajurveda  and  the 
major  part  of  the  Rigveda.  ^ 

(3)  Rigoedddi   Bhdshya  Bhumikd,  an   Introduction  to  his 
Vedic  Commentary,  partly  in  Sanskrit,  partly  in  Hindi,  a 
controversial  work  in  which  he  condemns  all  existing  commen 
taries  as  false,  and  expounds  his  own  principles. 

r  7.  The  most  amazing  of  Dayananda's  ideas  is  his  concep 
tion  of  the  Vedas.  In  order  to  understand  how  he  came  to 
hold  it,  we  must  recognize  what  the  traditional  Hindu  doc 
trine  about  them  is.  Since  the  Veda  is  the  eternal  utterance 
of  God,  there  can  be  no  temporal  references  in  it.  As  Max 
Miiller  says : 

If  any  historical  or  geographical  names  occur  in  the  Vedas, 
they  are  all  explained  away,  because,  if  taken  in  their  natural 
sense,  they  would  impart  to  the  Vedas  an  historical  or  temporal 
taint.1 

This  violent  method  of  exegesis,  whereby  hundreds  of  allu 
sions  to  places  and  events  in  these  most  human  documents 
are  distorted  and  misexplained,  already  finds  clear  expression 

1  Biographical  Essays,  170. 


REFORM  CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD  FAITHS  115 

as  the  only  right  principle  of  Vedic  interpretation  in  the  earliest 
treatises  on  the  subject  that  have  come  down  to  us,  some  of 
which  come  from  dates  five  or  six  centuries  before  Christ. 

Dayananda  held  fast  by  the  old  dogma,  that  the  Vedas 
are  God's  eternal  utterance.  Several  other  Hindu  ideas, 
notably  the  doctrines  of  transmigration  and  karma  and  of 
the  sanctity  of  the  cow,  remained  firmly  seated  in  his  mind. 

But  in  his  long,  stormy  career  of  wandering  and  disputing 
with  all  sorts  and  conditions  of  men,  the  facts  of  life,  as  they 

stared  him  in  the  face  in  North  India  under  the  British  Govern- 

t 

ment,  had  driven  certain  very  modern  and  un-Hindu  ideas 
into  his  mind  with  great  force.  The  most  important  of  these 
was  the  group  of  related  convictions,  that  there  is  but  one 
God,  that  all  the  gods  (devas)  of  the  Hindu  pantheon  have 
no  existence,  that  idolatry  is  irrational  and  degrading,  and 
that  the  sacrifice  of  animals  and  the  offering  of  food  as  prac 
tised  in  Hindu  temples  are  silly  superstitions.  Next  in  im 
portance  was  his  perception  of  the  practical  value  of  Western 
science  and  invention  as  made  plain  in  the  railway,  the  tele 
graph  and  modern  weapons  of  war.  Amongst  his  other 
fresh  convictions  may  be  mentioned  the  folly  and  danger  of 
caste  as  practised  in  modern  times,  and  of  child-marriage. 

Now  these  two  groups  of  ideas,  Hindu  and  modern,  seem  to 
have  been  both  firmly  implanted  in  his  mind.  He  had  had  no 
modern  education.  He  did  not  know  sufficient  English  to 
read  English  books;  so  that  he  had  no  grasp  of  modern 
methods  of  thought  and  criticism.  Nor  had  he  had  a  thor 
ough  Hindu  training.  He  had  read  with  his  blind  teacher  the 
best  that  Hindu  literature  contained  on  grammar  and  phi 
losophy,  but  he  had  had  no  complete  Vedic  education.  The 
time  he  spent  with  Virajanand  was  insufficient  for  the  purpose. 
Hence,  believing  the  Veda  to  be  God's  knowledge,  he  neces 
sarily  concluded  that  it  corresponded  with  his  own  convictions 
as  to  truth,  i.e,  that  it  taught  monotheism,  transmigration 


Ii6     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

and  modern  science,  and  that  it  did  not  recognize  the  gods 
of  Hinduism  nor  sacrifice ;  and,  being  a  Hindu  born  and  bred, 
and  filled  with  Hindu  methods  of  thought,  he  proceeded,  like 
the  earliest  Hindu  scholars,  by  violent  methods  of  interpreta 
tion  to  expel  from  the  Vedas  what  he  held  to  be  false  and  to 
import  into  them  what  he  held  to  be  true.  Max  Muller 
writes : 

To  him  not  only  was  everything  contained  in  the  Vedas 
perfect  truth,  but  he  went  a  step  further,  and  by  the  most  in 
credible  interpretations  succeeded  in  persuading  himself  and 
others  that  everything  worth  knowing,  even  the  most  recent 
inventions  of  modern  science,  were  alluded  to  in  the  Vedas. 
Steam-engines,  railways,  and  steam-boats,  all  were  shown  to 
have  been  known,  at  least  in  their  germs,  to  the  poets  of  the 
Vedas© 

Naturally  he  took  full  advantage  of  the  principle  stated  by 
the  ancient  scholars,  which  we  have  just  referred  to,  as 
justification  of  his  methods. 

Yet,  though  he  claims  to  have  restored  the  ancient  inter 
pretation,  in  reality  he  departs  from  it  in  two  large  and  most 
important  matters.  The  ancient  scholars  recognize  the  gods 
in  the  Vedas  and  all  the  details  of  their  worship,  while  he  re 
moves  all  the  gods,  and  leaves  only  the  One.  To  the  ancient 
teachers  the  Brahmanas  with  their  appendices,  the  Aranyakas 
and  the  Upanishads,  are  as  truly  the  eternal  word  of  God  as 
the  Hymns  are ;  but  Dayananda  makes  the  claim  only  for 
the  Samhitas,  i.e.  the  collections  of  Hymns,  and  recognizes 
the  presence  of  a  human  element  in  the  Brahmanas.  He 
thus  stands  absolutely  alone  as  an  interpreter  of  the  Veda. 
No  Hindu,  ancient  or  modern,  ever  taught  what  he  teaches ; 
and  we  need  scarcely  say  that  every  Western  scholar  repu 
diates  both  his  methods  and  his  results. 

It  is  thus  quite  possible  to  follow  the  process  of  thought 

1  Biographical  Essays,  170. 


REFORM  CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD   FAITHS  117 

by  which  the  Svami  reached  his  doctrines.  Yet,  when  one 
turns  to  the  hymns  themselves  and  to  his  interpretation  of 
them,  it  becomes  exceedingly  difficult  to  believe  in  his  straight 
forwardness  and  sincerity.  One  can  hardly  imagine  any 
mind  believing  what  he  says.  In  order  to  give  the  ordinary 
reader  some  indication  of  his  methods,  we  here  transcribe  the 
first  five  stanzas  of  the  first  hymn  of  the  Rigveda,  as  translated 
by  Hopkins.1  It  is  a  hymn  of  praise  to  the  god  Agni,  i.e.  Fire, 
regarded  as  the  great  priest,  because  sacrifices  were  wafted  to 
the  gods  on  the  flames  and  smoke  of  the  altar-fire. 

To  Agni 

I  worship  Agni ;  house-priest,  he, 

And  priest  divine  of  sacrifice, 

Th'  oblation  priest,  who  giveth  wealth. 

Agni,  by  seers  of  old  adored, 
To  be  adored  by  those  to-day  — 
May  he  the  gods  bring  here  to  us. 

Through  Agni  can  one  wealth  acquire, 
Prosperity  from  day  to  day, 
And  fame  of  heroes  excellent. 

X),  Agni !  whatsoe'er  the  rite 

That  thou  surround'st  on  every  side, 

That  sacrifice  attains  the  gods. 

May  Agni,  who  oblation  gives  — 

The  wisest,  true,  most  famous  priest  — 

This  god  with  (all)  the  gods  approach  ! 

The  meaning  expressed  in  the  above  translation  is  precisely 
what  is  given  by  all  Hindu  scholars,  ancient  and  modern; 

1  Religions  of  India,  108.  For  the  materials  used  in  this  discussion  I  am 
indebted  to  Dr.  Griswold's  pamphlet,  The  Dayanandl  Interpretation  of  the 
word  Deva. 


n8     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

and  all  Western  scholars  agree.  There  are  five  words  in  the 
translation  printed  in  italics.  In  the  original  the  word  in  each 
case  is  deva,  god,  either  in  the  singular  or  the  plural.  In  the 
first  stanza  it  is  translated  as  an  adjective,  elsewhere  as  a  sub 
stantive. 

Dayananda,  like  certain  early  Christian  exegetes,  is  an  ad 
vocate  of  the  method  of  dual  interpretation.  Agni  is  not  a 
god,  but  is  at  once  a  name  of  the  one  God,  and  the  name  of 
the  material  element,  fire.  Taken  as  a  name  of  God,  it  means 
"giver  and  illuminator  of  all  things."  Taken  as  the  material 
element,  it  means  "fire  which  gives  victory  in  battle  by  means 
of  skilfully  contrived  weapons."  This  last  is  an  allusion  to 
modern  firearms.  In  the  first  stanza  he  takes  the  word  deva 
as  an  epithet  of  the  one  God  and  as  meaning  "  Giver."  In  the 
second  he  translates  it  "excellent  sense-organs"  or  "excellent 
qualities  of  knowledge,"  or  "excellent  seasons,"  or  "excellent 
pleasures. ' '  Of  the  fourth  and  fifth  stanzas  he  gives  two  trans 
lations,  the  one  taking  Agni  as  "  God,"  the  other  taking  it  as 
"fire."  In  the  fourth  stanza,  if  God  is  addressed,  devdh  means 
"learned  men" ;  if  fire  is  addressed,  devdh  means  "excellent 
things."  In  the  fifth  stanza,  if  we  take  Agni  to  mean  God,  the 
last  line  runs,  "  May  this  self-luminous  One  approach  with 
learned  men"  ;  if  we  take  Agni  to  mean  fire,  the  meaning  is, 
"May  this  illuminator  approach  with  excellent  qualities." 
This  needs  no  comment.  As  translated  by  Hindu  and  by 
Western  scholars,  the  poem  is  a  polytheistic  hymn,  but  clear, 
comprehensible,  human.  Dayananda's  translation  reduces 
the  lines  to  nonsense. 

It  ought  to  be  stated  here  that  Pandit  S.  N.  Agnihotri,1  the 
founder  of  the  Deva  Samaj,  published  in  1891  a  pamphlet 
called  Pandit  Daydnand  Unveiled,  in  which  he  avers  that  a 
number  of  men,  some  belonging  to  Gujarat,  others  to  Bengal, 
others  to  the  Panjab,  declared  to  him,  either  in  conversation 
1  P.  173,  below, 


REFORM   CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD  FAITHS  119 

or  by  letter,  that  Dayananda,  in  personal  conversation  with 
them,  had  acknowledged  that  his  statements  about  the  Veda 
were  not  matters  of  conviction  but  of  diplomacy,  that  a  reli 
gion  must  have  some  superstition  as  its  basis,  and  that  he  had 
chosen  the  infallibility  of  the  Vedas,  because  nothing  else 
would  be  accepted  by  Hindus.  Dayananda  had  been  dead 
eight  years  when  the  pamphlet  appeared ;  and  one  of  his  fol 
lowers  attempted  to  demolish  the  writer  by  means  of  another 
pamphlet.1  As  the  evidence  was  not  carefully  sifted  by  an 
impartial  scholar  at  the  time,  it  is  not  possible  to  say  precisely 
how  much  weight  ought  to  be  attached  to  it :  yet  two  or  three 
of  Agnihotri's  witnesses  were  religious  men  of  known  probity ; 
so  that  it  would  be  hard  to  set  their  testimony  aside.  I  have 
also  received  myself,  from  an  altogether  different  source, 
another  piece  of  evidence  which  strikingly  corroborates  their 
statements.  The  Rev.  P.  M.  Zenker  of  the  Church  Mission 
ary  Society,  Muttra,  writes  of  an  incident  which  occurred 
when  he  was  in  Brindaban  preaching  at  a  spring  festival.  He 
cannot  vouch  for  the  year,  but  it  was  1884,  1885  or  1886.  One 
of  the  leaders  of  the  local  Arya  Samaj  had  a  long  and  serious 
conversation  with  him  in  the  afternoon.  Mr.  Zenker  re 
turned  his  call  the  same  evening ;  when  they  had  another 
long  talk.  I  quote  Mr.  Zenker's  report  of  the  conversation, 
so  far  as  it  refers  to  the  Arya  Samaj : 

My  informant  stated  that  Dayanand's  real  object  was  to 
obtain  for  India  all  the  advantages  which  Western  civilization 
has  conferred  on  the  nations  of  Europe  and  America.  But, 
being  fully  acquainted  with  the  character  of  his  Hindu  fellow- 
countrymen,  he  knew  they  would  hardly  accept  as  a  guide  one 
who  presented  this  as  the  sole  aim  and  object  of  all  the  laborious 
training  they  would  have  to  undergo.  He  therefore  cast  about 
for  an  expedient  to  gild  the  pill ;  and  he  thought  he  had  found 
it  in  the  cry,  "Let  us  return  to  the  pure  teaching  of  the  Veda." 

1  Agnihotri  Demolished,  by  Rambhaj  Datta. 


120     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

This  conversation,  which  occurred  only  some  two  or  three 
years  after  Dayananda's  death  in  1883,  corroborates  the 
statements  of  Agnihotri's  witnesses,  who  had  had  personal 
intercourse  with  the  leader  himself.  The  evidence  is  not 
absolutely  conclusive ;  but,  taken  along  with  the  amazing 
character  of  Dayananda's  commentaries  on  the  Vedas,  it 
will  have  considerable  weight  with  the  open-minded  student.1 
ITjThe  following  is  the  official  creed  of  the  Samaj : 

i.  God  is  the  primary  cause  of  all  true  knowledge,  and  of 
everything  known  by  its  name. 

jk  God  is  All-Truth,  All-Knowledge,  All-Beatitude,  Incor 
poreal,  Almighty,  Just,  Merciful,  Unbegotten,  Infinite,  Un 
changeable,  without  a  beginning,  Incomparable,  the  Support 
and  the  Lord  of  All,  All-pervading,  Omniscient,  Imperishable, 
Immortal,  Exempt  from  fear,  Eternal,  Holy,  and  the  Cause  of 
the  Universe.  To  Him  alone  worship  is  due. 

iii.  The  Vedas  are  the  books  of  true  knowledge,  and  it  is 
the  paramount  duty  of  every  Arya  to  read  or  hear  them  read, 
to  teach  and  preach  them  to  others. 

iv.  One  should  always  be  ready  to  accept  truth  and  renounce 
untruth. 

v.  All  actions  ought  to  be  done  conformably  to  virtue,  i.e. 
after  a  thorough  consideration  of  right  or  wrong. 

vi.  The  primary  object  of  the  Samaj  is  to  do  good  to  the 
world  by  improving  the  physical,  spiritual,  and  social  condi 
tion  of  mankind. 

vii.  All  ought  to  be  treated  with  love,  justice,  and  due  re 
gard  to  their  merits. 

viii.  Ignorance  ought  to  be  dispelled  and  knowledge  diffused. 

ix.  No  one  ought  to  be  contented  with  his  own  good  alone, 
but  every  one  ought  to  regard  his  prosperity  as  included  in  that 
of  others. 

x.  In  matters  which  affect  the  general  social  well-being  of 
the  whole  society,  one  ought  to  discard  all  differences  and  not 
allow  one's  individuality  to  interfere,  but  in  strictly  personal 
matters  every  one  may  act  with  freedom. 

1  Cf.  the  Tiyas,  below,  p.  313. 


REFORM  CHECKED   BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD   FAITHS  121 

But  these  sentences  omit  many  of  the  points  which  it  is  most 
important  to  know. 

9.  The  following  are  the  leading  theological  ideas  of  the 
Samaj.     Orthodox  Hindus  allow  only  men  of  the  three  high 
est  castes  to  study  the  Vedas :  Aryas  invite  all,  both  men  and 
women,  to  study  them.     On  the  other  hand,  they  condemn 
modern  Hindu  literature.    They  teach  that  there  are  three 
eternal  existences,  God,  the  soul  and  elemental  matter.     The 
soul  undergoes  transmigration  according  to  the  law  of  karma. 
Forgiveness  is  altogether  impossible.     Salvation  comes  only 
by  continued  well-doing ;  and  the  soul,  even  when  released 
from  transmigration,  is  not  absorbed  in  God.     The  doctrine 
of  avataras,  or  divine  incarnations,  is   denied.     Idolatry   is 
vehemently  condemned,  and  also  the  practice  of  killing  ani 
mals  in  sacrifice  or  of  offering  food  on  the  altar  to  God.     The 
fire-sacrifice  of  the  Vedas  is  retained,  but  is  explained  as  a 
means  of  purifying  the  air.     The  Hindu  form  of  ancestor- 
worship,  known  as  the  Srdddha,  is  condemned  as  useless ;  and 
pilgrimage  is  given  up  as  superstitious. 

10.  A  careful  reading  of  the  Satyarth  Prakash  shews  that  the 
ethical  system  of  the  Samaj  is  crude  in  the  extreme.     Many  of 
the  laws  of  Manu  in  all  their  barbarity  are  laid  down  for  use 
in  modern  life.     For  example,  the  individual  is  encouraged 
to  kill  those  whom  he  regards  as  monstrously  evil  men ; l  and 
the  king  is  advised  to  have  the  adulterer  burned  alive  on  a  red- 
hot  iron  bedstead,  and  the  adulteress  devoured  alive  by  dogs, 
in  the  presence  of  many  men  and  women.2    But  it  is  in  its 
marriage  laws  that  the  book  goes  farthest  astray.     Child- 
marriage  is  prohibited,3  and  virgin  widows  and  widowers  are 
allowed  to  remarry,4  excellent  regulations,  as  all  will  agree. 
But  widows  and  widowers  who  have  lived  with  their  spouses 
are  told  not  to  remarry.5    Yet,  for  their  relief,  and  for  the 

1  Durga  Prasad's  translation,  203. 

2  Ib.,  204,  207.  3  /6>j  I32>  4  Ibi}  I56>  5  /k   I6- 


122    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

relief  also  of  husbands  and  wives  in  certain  circumstances, 
the  law  of  niyoga  is  laid  down.1  Niyoga  is  simply  sexual  re 
lationships  without  marriage.  The  details  are  too  horrible 
to  transcribe.  They  may  be  seen  in  the  book.  In  1892  some 
Aryas  brought  a  law-suit  against  a  Hindu  who  wrote  against 
niyoga,  calling  it  adultery,  but  the  case  was  dismissed.2  One 
is  glad  to  hear  that  many  members  of  the  Samaj  would  now 
like  to  repudiate  this  most  immoral  legislation,  which  is 
equally  repulsive  to  the  Hindu  and  the  Christian. 

There  is  another  feature  of  the  Satydrth  Prakdsh  which  has 
attracted  wide  attention.  All  the  outstanding  Hindu  sects, 
and  Jainism,  Sikhism,  Islam,  and  Christianity  as  well,  are 
mercilessly  criticized  in  it,  and  here  and  there  with  a  good  deal 
of  malice  and  injustice.  This  section  of  the  book  has  en 
couraged  Aryas  and  provided  them  with  very  useful  ammuni 
tion  for  their  controversies,  but  it  has  also  created  vehement 
hatred  against  the  Samaj  in  many  quarters.  Dayananda's 
stinging  taunts  have  been  effective  in  rousing  a  number  of 
the  sects  to  retaliation  and  defensive  organization.  This  is 
noticeably  true  of  the  Sikhs,3  the  Jains,4  the  Ahmadiyas,5  the 
Muhammadans,6  and  also  of  Pandit  Din  Dayal,7  the  founder 
of  the  Bharata  Dharma  Mahamandala. 

Dayananda's  own  methods  of  controversy,  shewn  in  his 
public  addresses  and  debates  and  also  in  his  writings,  have 
naturally  been  adopted  by  his  followers.  Wherever  they  go, 
one  hears  of  slander,  passion,  and  unfair  methods;  and 
disturbances  in  the  streets  and  squares  have  been  pitiably 
common. 

ii.  I  had  the  privilege  of  being  present,  in  company  with 
Dr.  Griswold,  at  an  Arya  Samaj  Sunday  morning  service  in 

1  Durga  Prasad's  translation,  156-161. 

2  Ruchi  Ram  Sahni,  The  Niyoga  Doctrine  of  the  Arya  Samaj,  35-6. 

3  P.  340,  below.  4  P.  329,  below.  P.  137,  below. 
6  P-  35i>  below.                         7  P.  316,  below. 


REFORM  CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD  FAITHS  123 

Lahore  in  December,  1912.  The  place  of  meeting  is  a  large 
oblong  hall  without  seats,  with  a  platform  at  one  end  and  a 
high  narrow  gallery  at  the  other.  In  the  floor,  in  front  of  the 
platform,  there  is  a  square  pit,  measuring  perhaps  two  feet 
each  way.  This  is  the  altar.  On  one  side  of  the  hall  a  small 
platform  for  singers  and  a  harmonium  had  been  placed. 
When  we  entered,  there  was  only  one  man  in  the  hall,  and  he 
was  laying  some  pieces  of  wood  in  order  at  the  bottom  of  the 
square  pit.  When  that  was  done,  he  set  up  a  stick  of  incense 
on  end  on  the  floor  at  each  corner  of  the  pit.  Some  packets 
of  aromatic  herbs  and  several  sacrificial  vessels  lay  on  the 
floor.  Men  came  dropping  in,  and  squatted  in  front  and  on 
the  two  sides  of  the  altar.  When  there  were  perhaps  twenty 
present,  those  next  the  altar  began  to  intone  some  Sanskrit 
verses,  amongst  which  we  could  distinguish  some  of  the  verses 
of  Rigveda,  X,  129.  This  continued  about  twenty  minutes. 
By  that  time  there  were  about  thirty  present.  The  fire  and 
the  incense  sticks  were  then  lighted ;  the  aromatic  leaves  were 
shed  on  the  fire ;  and  ghl  (melted  butter)  was  rubbed  on  the 
outer  edges  of  the  altar.  Other  verses  were  now  chanted, 
while  the  flames  rose  nearly  two  feet  above  the  level  of  the 
floor.  This  is  the  Havana,  which  Aryas  are  recommended  to 
perform  every  morning,  at  the  time  of  their  devotions,  for  the 
purification  of  the  air.  This  continued  for  about  fifteen  min 
utes.  All  then  rose  to  their  feet  and  sat  down  in  various 
places  in  the  hall.  A  young  man  mounted  the  platform  to 
lead  the  service,  one  sat  down  at  the  harmonium  and  a  few 
others  gathered  round  him  to  sing.  There  were  forty-eight 
present. 

The  second  part  of  the  service  then  began.  It  consisted 
of  the  singing  of  hymns,  the  repetition  of  texts  (one  of  them 
the  Gdyairi),  prayer  and  a  sermon,  all  in  Hindi  except  a  few 
texts  which  were  in  Sanskrit.  It  was  just  like  a  Protestant 
service,  and  totally  unlike  any  Vedic  observance.  During 


124    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

this  part  of  the  sendee  many  boys  came  in.  Before  the 
sermon  began  there  were  perhaps  two  hundred  present.  Later 
the  number  rose  to  two  hundred  and  fifty.  There  was  no 
woman  or  girl  present.  I  am  told  they  are  not  excluded,  but 
a  special  sendee,  conducted  by  a  lady,  is  held  at  another  time 
and  place,  which  they  attend  in  fair  numbers. 

12.  The  death  of  Dayananda  was  a  great  blow  to  the  mem 
bers  of  the  Samaj ;  yet  the  work  was  carried  on  with  enthu 
siasm  ;  and  the  movement  has  continued  to  grow  at  a  rapid 
pace  since  then.     Large  sums  of  money  were  collected  to  per 
petuate  the  memory  of  the  founder,  and  in  1887,  the  Daya 
nanda  Anglo-Vedic   College  was  opened  in  Lahore.     This 
great  foundation,  in  which  the  flower  of  the  youth  of  the  Arya 
Samaj  receive  a  modern  English  education,  and  also  instruc 
tion  in  the  religion  of  the  Samaj,  forms  a  very  worthy  memorial 
to  Dayananda's  devotion  and  energy. 

In  1892  the  Arya  community  fell  in  two.  This  division  is 
parallel  to  the  first  split  in  the  Brahma  camp.  As  Keshab  led 
out  the  progressives,  and  left  Debendra  and  the  conservatives 
behind ;  so  the  Arya  Samaj  broke  up  into  the  College  or  "  Cul 
tured"  party  and  the  Vegetarian  or  ' '  Mahatma ' '  party.  The 
former  are  progressive,  stand  for  modern  education  and  for 
freedom  in  diet,  and  declare  that  the  Arya  Samaj  is  the  one 
true  universal  religion,  which  must  be  taught  to  all  the 
world ;  while  their  opponents  favour  the  ancient  Hindu  edu 
cation,  stand  by  vegetarianism  and  declare  that  the  teaching 
of  the  Samaj  is  pure  Hinduism,  but  not  the  universal  religion. 

13.  I  have  failed  to  obtain  printed  reports  of  the  work  of  the 
Samaj,  so  that  it  is  rather  hard  to  estimate  what  they  are  doing. 
Their  methods,  however,  are  well  known.     Those  members 
of  a  local  Samaj  who  pay  i%  of  their  income  to  the  funds 
elect  the  managing   Committee  of   the   Samaj.     Then  the 
Samajes  in  each  Province  elect  representatives  who  form  the 
Pratinidhi  Sabhd,  or  Representative  Assembly,  of  the  Prov- 


REFORM  CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD  FAITHS  125 

ince.  Since  the  split  in  1892  there  have  been  duplicate  or 
ganizations.  There  are  missionaries  and  preachers  of  the 
Samaj,  some  paid,  others  honorary.  Most  of  the  paid  men 
were  originally  Hindu  pandits ;  most  of  the  honorary  workers 
are  men  who  have  had  an  English  education.  The  Samaj 
also  copies  other  forms  of  Christian  effort.  They  have  their 
Tract  _Society,  their  Strl  Samaj  or  Women's  Arya  Samaj, 
their  Arya  Kumar  Sabhd,  or  Young  Men's  Arya  Association 
(a  copy  of  the  Y.  M.  C.  A.),  their  Orphanages,  and  their  work 
among  the  Depressed,  which  will  be  noticed  elsewhere.1 

The  Samaj  is  doing  a  good  deal  of  education.  Lala  Lajpat 
Rai  writes  with  regard  to  the  schools  and  colleges  of  the 
progressive  party : 

At  Lahore  it  has  founded  and  maintains  a  first-class  College, 
preparing  scholars  up  to  the  highest  standard  and  for  the  high 
est   University  examinations.     This   was   created   in    1886   in 
sacred  memory  of  its  founder,  and  is  called  "The  Dayanand 
Anglo- Vedic  College."     Its  objects  are  to  encourage  and  en 
force  the  study  of  (a)  Hindi  literature;    (6)  classical  Sanskrit 
and  the  Vedas ;    and  (c)  English  literature  and  sciences,  both 
theoretical  and  applied ;    and,  furthermore,  "  to  provide  means 
for  giving  technical  education."     It  owns  considerable  property, 
and  has   endowments  yielding   an   annual  income    (including 
tuition  and  admission  fees,  etc.)  of  over  Rs.  60,000  (£4000). 
The  Principal  is  honorary,  and  has  held  the  post  with  remarkable 
success  since  the  foundation.     On  the  staff  are  several  of  its 
!  own  alumni,  working  in  a  missionary  spirit  on  mere  subsistence 
j  allowances.     Directly  or  indirectly  connected  with  the  College 
I  are  a  number  of  secondary  and  primary  schools  maintained  by 
/  the  Samaj  throughout  the  province,  some  of  which  receive  the 
usual  grants  from  the  Educational  Department.     In  the  United 
Provinces,  also,  the  Samaj  maintains  several  schools  on  the  same 
lines  as  the  Anglo- Vedic  or  Anglo-Sanskrit  Schools  of  the  Pun 
jab,  their  principal  Anglo- Vedic  school  being  at  Dehra  Dun.2 

1  P.  371,  below. 

2  Contemporary  Review,  May,  1910. 


126    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

The  centre  and  crown  of  the  educational  efforts  of  the  Ma- 
hatma  party  is  the  Gurukula  Mahdvidydlaya  at  Hardwar,  a  great 
institution,  founded  in  1902,  in  which  an  attempt  is  being  made 
to  give  a  true  Hindu  education  and  to  save  students  from  the 
contaminations  both  of  Hindu  home  and  city  life  and  of 
Western  civilization.  It  is  a  most  interesting  and  promising 
experiment.  The  situation  is  all  that  could  be  desired ;  good 
food  is  provided,  and  the  physique  of  the  students  receives 
a  good  deal  of  attention.  Here  is  what  a  Christian  writes  of 
the  conditions  of  life  and  study : l 

The  students  are  admitted  at  the  age  of  eight  years,  and 
the  parents  are  under  written  pledge  not  to  remove  their  sons 
from  the  school  till  the  expiry  of  the  17  years'  course,  i.e.  till 
they  have  reached  the  age  of  25.  During  the  whole  of  these 
17  years  they  may  never  once  go  home  or  leave  the  school. 
Indeed,  they  are  only  allowed  to  have  a  quarter  of  an  hour's 
interview  once  a  year  with  their  parents,  and  that  in  presence 
of  their  teachers.  .  .  .  During  the  whole  of  their  long  course 
they  are  watched  day  and  night  by  their  teachers  and  house 
fathers.  Without  these  they  may  not  go  out  even  for  a  walk. 
No  woman  may  approach  the  Gurukula.  They  live  a  simple, 
hardy  life,  on  strictly  vegetarian  diet.  .  .  .  They  wear  the 
saffron  dress  of  the  religious  orders. 

There  are  many  points  to  admire  in  the  life  and  the  methods 
of  study.  Almost  all  the  work  is  done  in  the  vernacular,  not 
in  English.  Great  care  is  taken  to  train  the  character  as  well 
as  the  mind,  and  the  foundation  of  a  true  love  of  India  is 
laid  from  day  to  day.  One  wonders,  however,  whether  the 
exclusion  of  home  influence  is  wise,  and  whether  anything  like 
a  sound  literary  education  can  be  given,  while  Dayananda's 
interpretation  of  the  Veda  is  retained.  There  are  other  Guru- 
kulas  at  Gujranwala,  Farukhabad  and  elsewhere. 

The  Samaj  does  also  a  good  deal  for  the  education  of  girls. 
They  have  a  very  successful  boarding  school  at  Jullundur. 
1  Rev.  W.  E.  S.  Holland  in  East  and  West,  June,  1907. 


REFORM  CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD  FAITHS  127 

Lala  Lajpat  Rai,  struck  with  the  work  of  the  Salvation 
Army,  started  recently  in  Lahore  the  Vedic  Salvation  Army. 

In  the  Panjab  and  the  United  Provinces  the  Samaj  has  done 
valuable  work  by  its  testimony  to  monotheism,  its  opposition 
to  idolatry  and  to  other  superstitions  and  by  its  educational 
work.  Its  polemic  against  caste,  child-marriage,  priestcraft, 
pilgrimage,  and  self-torture  in  the  name  of  religion,  is  all  to 
the  good,  although  members  of  the  Samaj  are  still  bound  by 
caste,1  and  many  have  not  given  up  child-marriage.  In  these 
matters  there  is  far  more  talk  than  action.  The  great  expan 
sion  of  the  Samaj  in  recent  years2  gives  promise  of  still  farther 
growth,  and  the  zeal  of  the  members  is  proved  by  the  very 
generous  way  in  which  they  subscribe  to  the  funds.  Daya- 
nanda's  praise  of  all  things  Indian,  and  his  defence  of  the  Vedas 
and  of  transmigration  have  proved  very  popular. 

Yet  there  is  no  risk  involved  in  prophesying  that  the  Samaj 
will  not  have  a  great  history.  In  the  very  sources  of  its  pres 
ent  strength  there  is  that  which  will  inevitably  lead  to  its 
ruin.  The  false  interpretation  of  the  Vedas,  on  which  the 
whole  structure  rests,  will  inevitably  crumble  as  enlightenment 
proceeds.  The  attempt  to  retain  much  that  is  old  and  out 
worn,  instead  of  transcending  it,  is  another  source  of  weakness. 
The  retention  of  the  doctrine  of  transmigration  and  karma  is 
in  itself  most  dangerous.  So  long  as  that  remains,  a  healthy 
monotheism  is  impossible,3  and  caste  cannot  be  rooted  out.4  ; 

On  the  3oth  of  November,  1907,  at  the  Samaj  Anniversary  in 
Lahore,  Prof.  Lala  Sain  Das,  M.A.,  gave  an  address  in  which 
he  asked  the  assembly  to  realize  how  little  work  they  were 
doing  in  comparison  with  Christian  Missions,  how  weak  they 

1  A  low-caste  man  wanted  to  send  his  son  to  the  D.  A.  V.  College,  Lahore, 
but  there  was  so  much  opposition  that  the  authorities  kept  him  out. 

2  The  last  census  shows  that  they  now  number  243,000. 

3  See  the  author's  Crown  of  Hinduism,  392-407. 

4  Ib.,  179-181 ;  191. 


128    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

were  spiritually  and  how  impotent  socially  through  the  caste 
system.    He  added : 

Two  new  forces  are  now  at  work  in  India  (i)  English  edu 
cation,  and  (2)  Christian  evangelisation.  The  first,  formerly 
a  source  of  weakness  to  the  Hindu  society,  has  now  proved  a 
source  of  strength  to  the  Arya  Samaj.  Superstition  at  once  gave 
way  before  the  scientific  education.  In  order,  therefore,  to  fully 
avail  ourselves  of  the  former  and  to  nullify  the  effect  of  the 
latter,  we  should  open  as  many  schools  as  possible  where  all  the 
latest  discoveries  in  science  should  be  taught  and  education 
on  national  and  modern  lines  should  be  imparted  free  to  as 
large  a  number  as  our  funds  permit,  and,  secondly  to  carry  the 
torch  of  Vedic  light  to  the  remotest  corners  of  India  at  least 
where  the  Arya  Samaj  is  still  unrepresented.  But  then  ^  there 
comes  in  the  question  of  funds.  Our  rich  men  are  not  going  to 
part  with  their  money,  because  they  have  to  minister  to  their 
own  wants,  to  those  of  their  sons  and  daughters  and  relations. 
Then  there  is  a  question  of  time.  Now  those  who  can  spare 
time,  won't  do  it,  because  they  have  to  attend  to  this  business 
and  to  that  business.1 

An  article  appeared  in  Lahore  in  December,  1912,  by  Dr. 
Gokal  Chand,  Barrister,  Lahore,  in  which  he  declares  that 
the  Samaj  is  gradually  losing  its  intensity,  and  tries  to  dis 
cover  the  causes  of  this  weakening.  He  puts  it  down,  first, 
to  the  want  of  a  Scripture,  a  book  of  spiritual  instruction 
which  the  ordinary  man  can  take  up  and  find  help  in: 
"the  members  of  the  Arya  Samaj  do  not  read  the  Vedas." 
Secondly,  he  notes  they  have  no  religious  ministers  doing  pas 
toral  work  among  the  people.  Thirdly,  they  want  mission 
aries  settled  each  in  his  district  with  an  organization  and  assist 
ants,  just  like  Christian  missionaries.  Fourthly,  they  want 
men  who  have  renounced  the  world  and  will  live  only  for 
the  Samaj. 

LITERATURE.  —  GENERAL  :     Dr.  _H.    D.    Griswold,    art.     Arya 
Samaj  in  ERE.     Hand-Book  of  the  Arya  Samaj,  by  Pandit  Vishun 
1  Reported  in  the  Bombay  Guardian,  Dec.  14,  1907. 


REFORM  CHECKED   BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD   FAITHS  129 

Lai  Sharma,  Allahabad,  the  Indian  Press,  1912,  6  as.  (The  best 
official  account  of  the  rise  of  the  sect,  its  opinions  and  work.)  BIOG 
RAPHY  :  The  Autobiography  is  published  in  Durga  Prasad's  transla 
tion  of  the  Satyarth  Prakash  (see  below).  Maharshi  Swdml  Dayd- 
nand  Sarasvatl  Jl  Mahdrdj  Kd  Jivan  Charitra,  by  Pandit  Lekh  Ram  and 
Lala  Atma  Ram,  Lahore,  1897  (the  standard  biography;  in  Hindi). 
The  Life  and  Teachings  of  Swami  Dayanand  Saraswati,  by  Bawa 
Chhajju  Singh,  Lahore,  Addison  Press,  1903,  two  vols.,  Rs.  2. 
DAYANANDA'S  WORKS  :  Kigoedabhdshya  (a  Hindi  commentary  on  the 
Rigveda).  Rigvedddibhdshya  Bhumikd  (Hindi  introduction  to  the 
commentary  on  the  Rik}.  An  English  Translation  of  the  Satyarth 
Prakash  by  Durga  Prasad,  Lahore,  Virjanand  Press,  1908,  Rs.  2. 
The  Ocean  of  Mercy  (an  English  translation  of  Dayananda's  tract  on 
Cow-killing),  by  Durga  Prasad,  Lahore,  Virjanand  Press,  1889. 
CRITICISM  :  Chirol's  Indian  Unrest,  chap.  VIII.  The  Niyoga  Doc 
trine  of  the,  Arya  Samdj,  by  Ruchi  Ram  Sahni,  Lahore,  1896,  one  half- 
anna.  Pandit  Dayanand  Unveiled,  by  S.  N.  Agnihotri,  Lahore,  The 
Tribune  Press,  1891,  out  of  print.  The  Daydnandl  Interpretation 
of  the  Word  "  Dcva"  in  the  Rig  Veda,  by  H.  D.  Griswold,  Ludhiana, 
1897.  DEFENCE  :  The  Arya  Samdj,  Its  Aims  and  Teachings,  by  Lala 
Lajpat  Rai,  Contemporary  Review,  May,  1910.  The  Arya  Samdj 
and'lis  Detractors,  by  Munshi  Ram  and  Ram  Deva,  Hardwar,  Satya 
Dharm  Pracharak  Press,  1911,  Rs.  3.  Agnihotri  Demolished  by 
Rambhaj  Datta,  Lahore,  1891,  out  of  print. 

2.  SlVANARAYANA  PARAMAHAMSA1 

i.  We  take  next  another  wandering  ascetic  whose  teaching 
bears  quite  a  close  resemblance  to  Dayananda's. 

Sivanarayana  was  the  son  of  a  Benares  Brahman,  born 
perhaps  about  1840.  At  home  he  seems  to  have  received  no 
education,  and  he  remained  practically  illiterate  to  the  end. 
While  still  a  child,  he  was  agitated  with  religious  questions 
which  his  father  could  not  help  him  with.  He  left  home, 
according  to  his  own  account,  when  he  was  twelve  years  of  age, 
and  spent  the  rest  of  his  life  wandering  all  over  India,  at  first 
only  asking  questions,  afterwards  teaching  every  one  who 

1  For  the  word  Paramahamsa  see  below,  page  191. 
K 


130    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

would  listen  to  him.  He  dressed  in  the  simplest  way,  and 
lived  practically  like  a  sannyasi,  yet  he  never  called  himself 
such,  and  he  does  not  seem  to  have  been  initiated  into  any 
order.  We  have  no  means  of  learning  how  he  came  to  form 
the  opinions  he  held.  Mr.  Mohini  Mohan  Chatterji  of  Cal 
cutta,  to  whom  I  owe  all  the  information  I  have  about  him, 
and  who  was  one  of  his  best  friends,  writes : 

So  far  as  his  thoughts  were  not  the  results  of  his  musings 
and  meditations,  they  were  due  to  his  contact  with  all  sorts 
and  conditions  of  men  he  came  across  in  his  wanderings  all  over 
India. 

He  spent  most  of  his  time  during  the  last  years  of  his  life  in 
Bengal.  In  1884  or  1885  he  went  to  the  temple  of  Kali  at 
Dakshinesvara  near  Calcutta  and  met  Ramakrishna,  but  the 
two  men  were  not  drawn  to  each  other.  In  July,  1888,  Mr. 
Chatterji,  who  had  already  published  his  well-known  transla 
tion  of  the  Bhagavadgitd,  met  Sivanarayana ;  and  to  this  cir 
cumstance  we  owe  the  preservation  of  the  latter's  teaching. 
Mr.  Chatterji  listened  to  him  eagerly,  and  took  notes  of  what 
he  said.  A  few  tracts  in  Bengali,  in  Hindi  and  English  were 
first  published.  Then  in  1902  Mr.  Chatterji  edited  the 
Amrita  Sdgara,  a  volume  in  Bengali,  containing  the  main 
elements  of  his  teaching  arranged  in  systematic  form.  The 
volume  was  published  in  Hindi  also.  Mr.  Chatterji  then  took 
down  from  his  lips  an  account  of  his  wanderings  and  of  the 
conversations  he  had  with  the  people  he  met.  This  appeared 
in  1907  in  English,  a  volume  of  146  pages,  published  by  Luzac, 
and  called  Indian  Spirituality;  or  the  Travels  and  Teachings  of 
Sivanarayana.  Quite  apart  from  the  religious  teaching,  the 
book  makes  very  pleasant  reading,  for  it  contains  many  in 
teresting  particulars  about  Hindu  temples  and  the  life  of  as 
cetics.  He  died  at  Kallghat,  Calcutta,  in  1909. 
Mr.  Chatterji  writes, 


REFORM  CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD   FAITHS  131 

Those  who  came  under  his  influence  were  common  people  in 
the  main ; 

and  again, 

He  expressly  prohibited  the  formation  of  a  sect.  But 
there  is  a  large  number  of  men  and  women  in  Calcutta  and 
other  places,  specially  among  the  Mech  tribe  of  Assam,  who 
look  upon  him  as  a  source  of  spiritual  inspiration. 

He  taught  as  seriously  as  Dayananda  did  that  there  is  but 
one  God ;  but  he  attempted  to  conceive  Him  as  having  two 
aspects,  the  one  unknowable,  inactive,  and  tending  to  be  im 
personal,  the  other  distinctly  personal  and  active.  He  lays 
more  stress  on  the  will  of  God  than  any  other  Hindu  thinker 
of  the  nineteenth  century.  There  is  one  rather  curious  sur 
vival  in  his  thought,  viz.,  that  God  is  specially  manifested  in 
light.  Perhaps  in  connection  with  this  same  thought,  he  af 
firms  that  it  is  God's  will  that  all  men  should  make  to  Him 
offerings  in  fire  of  things  fragrant  and  sweet.  Like  Dayananda, 
he  holds  that  this  form  of  sacrifice  purifies  the  air. 

He  condemns  idolatry  with  quite  as  much  vehemence  as 
Dayananda ;  but  he  goes  further,  and,  like  a  prophet  of  the 
Old  Testament,  proclaims  that  the  worship  of  idols  degrades 
man  and  works  ruin  to  the  nation  as  a  whole.  His  teaching 
on  this  point  is  most  penetrating.  He  also  condemned  man- 
worship.  Consequently,  though  he  visited  all  the  great 
shrines  of  India,  he  would  not  bow  down  to  idols,  nor  would 
he  prostrate  himself  before  religious  authorities,  as  Hindus  are 
wont  to  do.  He  held  most  sincerely  that  the  weakness  of 
modern  India  was  the  result  of  idolatry  and  superstition. 
As  he  wandered  through  the  country,  he  saw  how  gross  the 
ordinary  worship  of  the  temples  was,  and  how  frequently 
fraud  was  employed  to  increase  the  popularity  of  a  particular 
god  or  shrine.  All  this  he  condemned  very  frankly.1  His 

1  See  Indian  Spirituality. 


132    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

attitude  to  social  questions  was  also  practically  the  same  as 
Dayananda's.  He  opposed  caste,  condemned  child-marriage, 
advocated  female  education,  and  declared  woman  to  be  equal 
with  man.  He  says : 

Similar  reasons  will  show  you  the  injustice  of  the  treat 
ment  to  which  your  women  are  subjected.  Man  and  woman 
are  equally  related  to  the  all-comprehending  supreme  Being, 
manifested  as  light.  It  is  pleasant  in  His  sight  that  each  should 
be  free  to  realise  the  perfection  possible  to  the  human  individ 
ual.1 

His  teaching  is  distinctly  better  than  Dayananda's  in  two 
particulars.  First,  he  did  not  press  the  doctrine  of  trans 
migration  and  karma.  Clearly  he  had  not  realized  what  an 
incubus  it  had  been  on  the  theology  of  Hinduism  and  on  the 
life  of  the  common  people ;  so  that  he  occupied  rather  an  am 
biguous  position  towards  it.  Mr.  Chatterji  writes : 

Transmigration  did  not  receive  much  attention  from 
Sivanarayana.  He  thought  it  had  no  bearing  upon  a  man's 
spiritual  life  or  his  mukti  or  salvation.  He  neither  asserted 
nor  denied  its  reality.  He  left  the  question  open  and  prac 
tically  ignored  it. 

The  other  point  on  which  he  advanced  beyond  Dayananda  was 
this :  he  did  not  hold  the  infallibility  of  the  Veda,  but  recog 
nized  the  value  of  many  sacred  books. 

He  believed  that,  if  men  would  only  recognize  the  true 
import  of  the  two  aspects  of  God,  peace  would  come  amongst 
all  religions,  and  good  will  would  be  established  in  place  of 
evil.  At  one  time  he  urged  the  advisability  of  holding  a  great 
religious  Conference  with  the  object  of  bringing  all  men  to 
one  opinion  with  regard  to  God.  The  following  is  another 
of  his  proposals,  which,  if  not  very  practical,  gives  us  a  peep 

into  his  mind : 

1  A  Word  in  Season,  14. 


REFORM  CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD  FAITHS  133 

Let  all  mankind  have  a  common  speech.  Compile  from  all 
the  scriptures  of  the  world,  in  that  common  human  tongue, 
a  scripture,  containing  all  that  is  useful  for  man  to  know  con 
cerning  his  spiritual  and  temporal  welfare.  Preserve  that  one 
and  burn  all  the  rest,  burying  their  ashes  out  of  sight.1 

He  insists  on  the  duty  of  training  the  body  to  be  the  obedient 
servant  of  the  spirit,  and  he  makes  practical  service  of  our 
neighbours  an  essential  part  of  spiritual  religion.  The  fol 
lowing  summary  is  given  at  the  end  of  one  of  his  latest  tracts : 

1.  Keep  this  world  pure,  so  that  no  uncleanness  may  at 
tach,  within  or  outside,  to  the  physical  body,  the  senses,  mind, 
food,  raiment,  dwellings,  roads,  bathing-places  and  so  forth. 
Prevent  the  adulteration  of  food  in  every  form. 

2.  Be  "  equal  -sighted  "  to  sons  and  daughters,  and  educate 
them  equally ;  secure  equal  rights  to  man  and  woman.     Looking 
on  all  individuals  as  God  and  your  own  soul,  cherish  them,  so 
that  want  and  suffering  may  come  to  none. 

3.  Let  each,  to  the  extent  of  his  power,  lovingly,  in  God's 
name,  make  offerings  in  the  fire  of  things  fragrant  and  sweet, 
such  as  clarified  butter,  sugar,  etc.,  and  help  and  encourage 
others  to  do  so.     This  purifies  the  air,  secures  timely  rain  and 
abundant  crops.     Such  is  God's  law. 

4.  His  name  is  the  mantra,  Om  Sat  guru.     Let  every  man 
and  woman  call  upon  Him  by  inwardly  repeating  this  name. 
By  His  favour  all  will  attain  the  fourfold  objects  of  desire,  — 
religious  merit  or  ethical  perfection,  possessions  on  earth,  en 
joyment  and  salvation. 

5.  Light  or  the  sun  and  moon  is  His  expression.     Let  all 
men  at  the  rising  and  the  setting  of  light  with  love  and  rever 
ence  bow  down  with  folded  hands  and  adore  Him  who  is  light, 
craving  forgiveness  of  sins. 

When  you  perceive  the  true  nature  of  light,  you  will  under 
stand  all  phenomena  of  life  and  movement,  such  as  birth  and 
death,  eclipses  and  the  waxing  and  the  waning  of  the  moon. 

6.  Knowing  Him  to  be  all-comprehending  and  complete, 
keep  your  hearts  well  established  on  Him.2 

1  Take  Heed  unto  Yourselves,  5.  2  A  Word  in  Season,  22-23. 


134    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

Christian  influence  is  very  distinctly  visible  in  his  teaching 
at  several  points,  notably  in  his  attitude  to  idolatry,  his  free 
dom  from  the  grip  of  transmigration,  and  his  conception  of  the 
equality  of  man  and  woman. 

2.  A  number  of  intelligent  people  in  Calcutta  still  confess 
his  influence;  the  Isamoshipanthls  are  the  outcome  of  the 
teaching  of  one  of  his  disciples ; 1  and  a  new  sect  has 
sprung  from  his  teaching  in  Assam.2  The  Kacheris  are  a 
Burma-Tibetan  race  scattered  throughout  Upper  Assam. 
One  branch  of  the  Kacheris  are  known  as  the  Mech  tribe. 
The  word  Mech  is  simply  a  corruption  of  the  Sanskrit  word 
Mleccha,  which  means  "  barbarian,"  "  unclean,"  "  foreign." 
There  is  a  good  deal  of  unrest  up  and  down  the  country ;  and 
the  Mech  tribe,  having  grown  in  knowledge  and  intelligence 
during  recent  years,  very  naturally  dislike  their  tribal  name. 

Shortly  after  Sivanarayana's  death,  a  member  of  this  tribe, 
Kali  Charan  by  name,  went  to  Calcutta  and  met  some  of  his 
followers.  He  picked  up  the  teacher's  main  ideas,  and  carried 
away  one  of  his  Bengali  books  with  him,  Sar  Nityakriyd,  i.e. 
"Essential  Daily  Duties."  When  he  reached  Assam,  he 
taught  the  new  doctrines  as  a  means  of  changing  the  status 
of  the  tribe.  He  received  a  ready  response,  and  the  movement 
grew  apace.  He  teaches  the  people  that  by  accepting  the  new 
teaching  they  become  Brahmas,  or,  as  they  pronounce  it, 
Bormhos.  He  means  they  will  become  Brahman,  God. 
Those  who  follow  him  call  themselves  Bormhos  instead  of 
using  the  old  name  Mech.  They  do  their  best  to  follow  the 
teaching  of  Sar  Nityakriyd,  but  they  do  not  understand  it  well. 
They  are  setting  themselves  up  as  a  caste,  at  least  thus  far 
that  they  will  not  eat  with  others.  They  have  neither  temples 

1  P.  156,  below. 

2  All  my  information  about  this  Assamese  movement  I  owe  to  the  Rev. 
A.  C.  Bowers  of  Goalpara,  Assam.     There  is  a  brief  mention  in  Census  of 
India,  1911,  vol.  i,  125. 


REFORM  CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD   FAITHS  135 

nor  idols,  but  worship  fire,  earth,  air,  water  and  sun  in  a  spot 
prepared  for  the  occasion.  These  are  supposed  to  be  God. 
They  offer  fruits  and  vegetables,  and  sacrifice  certain  sweet- 
smelling  substances  in  fire. 

Kali  Charan  is  their  leader.  He  has  some  half  a  dozen 
chelas,  disciples,  who  assist  him.  They  use  the  Bengali  litera 
ture  published  by  Sivanarayana's  disciples  in  Calcutta.  They 
are  aiming  at  the  economic  development  of  the  tribe,  and 
therefore  are  collecting  money  for  the  erection  of  a  technical 
school,  shops  and  such  like.  They  say  that  there  are  about 
two  thousand  families  in  the  movement,  but  that  is  probably 
an  overestimate.  In  any  case  it  is  now  losing  ground. 

LITERATURE.  —  Indian  Spirituality  or  the  Travels  and  Teachings 
of  Sivandrdyana,  by  M.  M.  Chatterji.  London,  Luzac,  1907.  Amrita 
Sagara  (the  teaching  of  Sivanarayana  in  Bengali),  edited  by  M.  M. 
Chatterji,  Calcutta,  Sanyal  &  Co.,  1911,  Rs.  2. 

3.  THE  VEDIC  MISSION 

In  1886  a  movement  called  Sadharana  Dharma  arose  in 
Madras,  and  has  continued  active  until  to-day.  The  adher 
ents  of  Sadharana  Dharma  declare  their  belief  in  Paramatman, 
or  the  Supreme  Self,  his  government  of  the  world  and  of  indi 
viduals,  and  the  possibility  of  realizing  him  by  the  develop 
ment  of  one's  moral  or  physical  powers  and  the  use  of  them  for 
the  good  of  humanity ;  and  they  promise  to  work  for  their  own 
progress  and  the  advancement  of  humanity.  The  following 
sentences  come  from  the  prospectus  of  the  organization  : 

The  Common  Path  (Sadharana  Dharma)  is  open  to  people 
of  any  creed.  Those  who  profess  other  faiths  need  not  dis 
claim  them  when  they  adopt  Sadharana  Dharma.  Sadharana 
Dharma  aims  not  to  establish  uniformity  but  unity  in  variety 
throughout  the  different  cults  and  sects  of  India,  and  by  and 
by  of  the  whole  world. 


136    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

In  1909  this  organization  was  included  in  a  wider  body 
called  the  Vedic  Mission.  This  new  organization  has  two 
divisions,  Vedic  Dharma  and  Sadharana  Dharma,  the  former 
purely  Hindu,  the  later  for  everybody  and  anybody.  For  a 
time  they  were  affiliated  with  the  Bharata  Dharma  Maha- 
mandal,1  but  its  orthodoxy  was  too  stiff  for  the  Vedic  Mission. 
The  following  sentences  allude  to  that  fact : 

We  take  this  opportunity  of  informing  the  public  that  our 
Mission  has  nothing  to  do  with  so  called  Hindu  orthodoxy  and 
priesthood.  Nothing  short  of  thorough  religious  reform  based 
on  "Vedic  monotheism"  will  satisfy  us. 

We  do  not  want  to  please  those  orthodox  people  that  may  be 
indifferent  or  opposed  to  the  spread  of  Sanskrit  and  Religious 
Education  as  well  as  the  right  kind  of  spiritual  knowledge 
among  the  non-Brahmin  castes  and  the  depressed  Classes. 

The  work  is  as  follows : 

The  Mission  has  three  branches  of  work,  viz.,  (i)  Educa 
tional—for  spreading  secular  and  useful  religious  knowledge 
among  the  masses,  (ii)  Medical  —  pertaining  to  the  Ministry  of 
Healing  (the  sick  in  body  and  mind),  and  (iii)  Literary  — in 
cluding  the  study  of  comparative  Mythology,  Theology  and 
Philosophy.  The  Mission  advocates  the  cause  of  Vedic  Reli 
gion  and  philosophy. 

They  have  what  they  call  a  Vedic  Mission  College  for  training 
preachers  and  teachers,  and  they  publish  a  good  deal  of  litera 
ture. 

The  leaders  are  Pandit  G.  Krishna  Sastrl  and  an  Australian. 
There  is  a  branch  in  Delhi,  under  Svami  Sivaganacharya. 
Work  is  also  being  done  in  Australia.  I  find  it  impossible  to 
make  out  how  much  is  being  done. 

The  movement  seems  to  stand  nearer  the  Arya  Samaj  and 
givanarayana's  teaching  than  anything  else. 

*P.  316,  below. 


REFORM  CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD  FAITHS  137 

4.  A  CASTLE  IN  THE  AIR 

A  Muhammadan,  who  shall  be  nameless,  has  written  a 
little  book  which  it  is  perhaps  kindest  to  regard  as  the  product 
of  a  diseased  mind.  It  is  worthy  of  mention  merely  as  another 
indication  of  the  present  state  of  affairs  in  India.  Its  folly 
may  also  serve  to  relieve  my  sober  narrative.  It  is  an  attempt 
to  fuse  Islam,  Christianity  and  Hinduism.  A  pantheistic 
theology  and  transmigration  are  mingled  with  Muhammadan 
ideas  and  diluted  Christian  ethics.  The  writer  calls  himself 
the  Holy  Ghost,  the  very  God  and  such  like.  Like  Sivanara- 
yana,  he  proposes  one  language  and  one  Scripture  for  all  men, 
and  also  a  universal  religious  conference.  From  that  there 
might  emerge  a  universal  religious  empire.  Constantinople 
would  be  the  centre  of  this  empire ;  the  English  would  be  its 
guardians ;  and  the  Promoter  himself  would  be  the  spiritual 
teacher  and  head  of  the  whole  ! 

We  now  turn  to  a  group  of  movements  which  have  one  strik 
ing  feature  in  common,  namely,  their  use  of  the  person  of 
Christ.  They  are  a  peculiarly  interesting  and  instructive 
group  ;  for  two  of  them  are  Muhammadan  in  origin,  and  two 
are  Hindu. 

5.  THE  AHMADIYAS  OF  QADIAN 

i.  The  first  is  a  very  successful  and  combative  sect  which 
arose  in  the  Panjab  in  the  eighties,  largely  as  a  reaction  from 
the  striking  success  of  a  Christian  mission  in  the  Central 
Panjab  and  from  the  fierce  onslaught  of  Dayananda  and  his 
Samaj. 

In  the  village  of  Qadian x  in  the  Gurdaspur  district  of  the 
Panjab,  there  was  born,  about  1838,  in  an  ancient  Muhamma- 

1  I  am  indebted  for  most  of  my  information  about  this  sect  to  Dr.  Gris- 
wold  of  Lahore.  See  his  pamphlet,  Mirza  Ghulam  Ahmad,  and  his  article 
in  The  Moslem  World  for  October,  1912. 


138    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

dan  family  which  had  long  been  known  for  its  attachment  to 
the  mysticism  of  Islam,  viz.,  Sufiism,  a  boy  called  Mirza 
Ghulam  Ahmad.  Very  little  is  known  about  his  youth  or 
education ;  so  that  it  is  not  possible  to  trace  the  growth  of 
his  mind,  as  may  be  done  in  the  case  of  Dayananda.  He  began 
to  teach  about  1879,  and  djed  in  1908. 

2.  The  whole  movement  rests  on  his  personal  claims.  He 
declared  himself  to  be  the  Christian  Messiah,  the  Muhamma- 

V»i—«  i  -««•.  -**~—^~**-S*~  -i_--^^-v»_  *•>•— "•^-.-»         '  -»-•->_ -s.^-w- 

dan  Mahdi,  and  the  final  avatdra  or  "  Incarnation  "  of  the  Hin 
dus.  In  one  of  his  latest  utterances  he  said, 

My  advent  in  this  age  is  not  meant  for  the  reformation  of 
\  the  Mohammedans  only,  but  Almighty  God  has  willed  to  bring 
J about  through  me  a  regeneration  of  three  great  nations,  viz., 
^Hindus,  Mohammedans  and  Christians.  As  for  the  last  two  I 
^am  the  promised  Messiah,  so  for  the  first  I  have  been  sent  as 
•  an  Avatar.1 

The  last  claim,  to  be  Hindu  avatdra,  was  made  for  the  first 
time  towards  the  end  of  his  life,  and  has  had  no  results.  He 
spent  his  life  in  trying  to  prove  himself  the  Mahdi  of  Islam  as 
well  as  the  Christian  Messiah,  in  seeking  to  shew  that  in  him 
Christianity  and  Islam  unite  and  culminate. 

The  conception  is  rather  an  unusual  one  for  a  Muslim ;  for, 
according  to  ordinary  Muhammadan  belief,  the  Messiah  and 
the  Mahdi  are  distinct  persons;2  and  the  common  expecta 
tion  is  that  the  Mahdi  will  be  a  man  of  blood,  a  character 
which  it  would  be  impossible  to  combine  with  Christ.  The 
Mirza  gets  over  this  last  difficulty  by  declaring  that  the 
traditions  which  speak  of  the  Mahdi  as  a  man  of  blood  are  all 
forgeries,  that  the  Guided  One  (i.e.  the  Mahdi)  is  to  be  a  man 
of  peace.  Thus,  the  controlling  idea  of  his  conception  of  him 
self  as  a  prophet  is  the  character  and  work  of  Christ.  It 

1  Review  of  Religions,  November,  1904,  p.  410. 

2  Yet  some  groups  assert  that  Jesus  is  the  only  Mahdi  that  will  ever 
come. 


PLATE   VI 


MIRZA  GHULAM  AHMAD 


REFORM  CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD  FAITHS  139 

seems  almost  as  if  he  had  first  come  to  believe  himself  to  be 
the  Messiah,  and  had  then  added  the  idea  that  he  was  the 
Mahdi  as  a  sort  of  inference  from  his  position  in  Islam.  In 
any  case,  nearly  the  whole  of  his  apologetic  is  built  up  with 
the  object  of  proving  himself  the  Messiah.  With  that,  then, 
we  begin. 

He  does  not  profess  to  be  Jesus  Christ  returned  in  propria 
persona.  He  claims  to  be  the  fufilment  of  the  prophecy  of 
the  Second  Coming,  on  the  ground  that  he  has  come  in  the 
spirit  and  power  of  Jesus.  In  order  to  make  this  claim  seem 
reasonable,  he  uses  two  series  of  arguments. 

A .  He  first  sets  about  proving  that  Christ  did  not  die  on  the 
Cross,  rise  from  the  dead,  and  ascend  to  Heaven.1  He  ac 
knowledges  that,  if  Jesus  really  died,  rose,  and  went  to  heaven, 
then  Christianity  must  be  true,  and  he  himself  must  be  an 
impostor : 

If  Christ  was  in  reality  exalted  in  bodily  form  alive  to 
heaven,  then  there  is  no  need  of  further  controversy,  and  my 
claim  to  be  the  promised  Messiah  is  in  vain.  The  reason  is 
that  my  claim  is  based  upon  the  natural  death  (wafat)  of  the 
Son  of  Mary.2 

He  avers  that,  while  Jesus  was  truly  crucified,  He  was  taken 
down  from  the  cross  seemingly  dead,  but  really  in  a  swoon, 
recovered  from  His  wounds,  came  to  India,  lived  for  many 
years  and  finally  died  in  Cashmere  like  any  ordinary  mortal. 
The  materials  he  uses  to  establish  these  propositions  are  as 
follows : 

a.  He  revives  the  old  swoon  theory  of  the  death  of  Jesus, 
citing  as  confirmation  the  facts,  that  He  was  on  the  cross  for 
only  a  few  hours  and  that  His  legs  were  not  broken.  He  also 
uses  the  phrase,  "Why  seek  ye  the  living  amongst  the  dead  ?  " 

1  He  asserts  that  the  Gospels  were  deliberately  corrupted  by  Christians. 

2  Griswold,  Mirza  Ghulam  Ahmad,  5. 


140    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

and  urges  that  the  appearances  of  Jesus  to  His  disciples  after 
the  crucifixion  are  those  of  a  living  man  and  not  of  a  disem 
bodied  spirit.  Christ's  own  use  of  the  experience  of  Jonah  as 
a  parallel  to  Himself  is  pressed  into  service.  As  Jonah  was 
alive  in  the  whale's  belly,  so  Jesus  must  have  meant  that  He 
Himself  would  be  alive  in  the  tomb. 

b.  He  cites  the  so-called  Gospel  of  Barnabas,  a  mediaeval 
Muhammadan  forgery,  as  a  witness  that  Jesus  did  not  die  on 
the  cross. 

c.  He  asserts  that  over  a  thousand  medical  books,  Jewish, 
Christian,  Parsee  and  Muhammadan,  describe  the  Marham-i- 
Isd,  or  Ointment  of  Jesus,  and  extol  its  powers.     He  asserts 
that  after  three  days  Jesus  recovered  from  the  swoon,  and 
that  the  disciples  applied  this  wonderful  ointment  to  His 
wounds  with  such  success  that,  within  the  space  of  forty  days, 
He  was  entirely  healed  and  ready  for  foreign  travel. 

d.  In  1887  a  Russian,  named  Nicolas  Nojtovitch,  travelled 
through    Cashmere    to   Leh    in    Ladak    and    spent    some 
time  in  friendly  intercourse  with  the  Buddhist  Lamas  of  the 
monastery  of  Himis.     Seven  years  later,  he  published  a  book 
in  which  he  declared  that  the  Abbot  of  the  monastery  had 
brought  out  and  read  to  him  an  ancient  manuscript,  accord 
ing  to  which  Jesus,  in  the  interval  between  His  visit  to  the 
Temple  of  Jerusalem  at  the  age  of  twelve  and  his  baptism  by 
John,  travelled  from  Palestine  to  India,  and  studied  under 
the  Jains,  Buddhists  and  Hindus  of  those  days.     The  book 
appeared  in  French  and  in  English  and  made  a  considerable 
stir  both  in  Europe  and  India  for  some  time.     In  an  article 
in  TJie  Nineteenth  Century  for  October,  1894,  Max  M  tiller,  who 
saw  clearly  that  the  tale  was  false,  suggested  that  M.  Noto- 
vitch  had  been  so  persistent  in  trying  to  get  information  that 
the  Lamas,  having  nothing  better  to  give  him,  had  invented 
the  story  to  satisfy  him.     But  Prof.  J.  Archibald  Douglas  of 
the  Government  College,  Agra,  was  inclined  to  think  that 


REFORM  CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD  FAITHS  141 

Max  Miiller  was  too  rash  in  concluding  that  the  whole  story 
was  false,  and  therefore  used  his  hot-weather  holiday  in  1895 
to  take  a  journey  to  Ladak  in  the  hope  of  finding  the  Ms. 
But  when  he  reached  the  monastery  and  told  his  tale,  the  in 
dignation  of  the  Abbot  knew  no  bounds.  No  such  Ms.  is  in 
the  library,  nor  indeed  in  Tibet  anywhere.  The  whole  story 
was  an  impudent  lie.  Professor  Douglas  described  his  journey 
in  The  Nineteenth  Century  for  April,  1896 ;  and  M.  Nicolas 
Notovitch  was  recognized  to  be  an  unscrupulous  adventurer. 
Yet  many  Hindus  and  Muhammadans  still  make  use  of  his  lies. 

The  prophet  of  Qadian  sets  forth  this  false  story  of  a  journey 
to  India  undertaken  by  Jesus  before  He  began  His  ministry  as 
proof  that  He  travelled  to  India  after  His  crucifixion.  Could 
futility  proceed  to  greater  extremes  ? 

e.  The  meaning  of  the  Ascension,  he  argues,  is  that  Jesus 
was  separated  from  his  disciples  in  order  to  preach  in  Afghan 
istan  and  Cashmere,  the  inhabitants  of  which  countries,  he 
avers,  are  the  ten  lost  tribes. 

/.  In  Khan  Yar  Street,  Srinagar,  Cashmere,  there  stands  a 
tomb,  perhaps  a  couple  of  centuries  old,  known  to  the  people 
of  the  vicinity  as  the  tomb  of  Yus  A  saf.  Clearly  it  is  the  tomb 
of  some  obscure  Muslim  saint.  There  is  no  tradition  at 
tached  to  the  building. 

The  prophet  maintains,  however,  without  adducing  the 
slightest  evidence,  that  it  is  the  tomb  of  Jesus,  that  Yus  is  a 
corruption  of  Yasu,  which  he  equates  with  Jesus,  and  that 
A  saf,  coming  from  the  Hebrew  asdf,  to  gather,  designates  Him 
as  the  "  Gatherer  "  of  the  ten  lost  tribes  of  Israel. 

g.  Lastly,  he  asserts  that  Christianity  is  spiritually  dead, 
and  argues  that,  if  Jesus  had  really  risen  from  the  grave,  and 
ascended  to  heaven,  to  reign  there  in  spiritual  power,  His 
Church  would  exhibit  His  energy  and  life.  Hence  we  can 
infer  that  He  did  not  rise. 

It  ought  to  be  noticed  that,  in  denying  the  Ascension  of 


142    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

Christ,  the  Mirza  is  a  heterodox  Muslim ;  for  the  Muhamma- 
dan  belief  is  that  God  took  Him  to  heaven,  that  He  is  now 
there,  and  that  He  will  return  at  the  end  of  the  world  to  slay 
the  Antichrist. 

B.  Having  thus  in  his  own  way  set  Christ  aside,  he  proceeds 
to  give  positive  arguments  in  support  of  his  assertion  that  he 
is  the  Messiah  himself. 

a.  As  the  Old  Testament  prophecy  of  the  second  coming 
of  Elijah  was  fulfilled  in  John  the  Baptist,  who  was  not  Elijah, 
so  the  New  Testament  prophecy  of  the  second  coming  of  Christ 
will  be  fulfilled,  not  by  a  personal  return  of  Jesus,  but  by  the 
appearance  of  one  coming  in  the  spirit  and  power  of  Jesus. 

b.  In  the  Koran  Christ's  prophecy  of  the  coming  of  the  Com 
forter  is  referred  to.     The  Greek  word  in  John  16,  7  is  para- 
cletos,  advocate,  defender,  comforter.     Muhammad  seems  to 
have  got  this  word  mixed  up  with  the  similar  Greek  word 
peridytos,  which  means  famous,  and  took  it  as  a  prophecy  of 
his  own  name,  which,  whether  in  the  form  Muhammad  or 
or  Ahmad,  means  praised,  glorified.    Hence  the  words  of  the 
Koran,1 

And  remember  when  Jesus  the  son  of  Mary  said,  "O  children 
of  Israel !  of  a  truth  I  am  God's  apostle  to  you  to  confirm  the 
law  which  was  given  before  me,  and  to  announce  an  apostle  that 
shall  come  after  me  whose  name  shall  be  Ahmad  ! " 

Our  prophet  could  not  fail  to  seize  upon  this  text,  despite  the 
fact  that  his  own  name  is  not  Ahmad  but  Ghulam  Ahmad,  i.e. 
the  servant  of  Ahmad  (Muhammad).  He  uses  it,  as  several 
other  self-styled  prophets  of  the  name  of  Ahmad  have  done,  as 
a  definite  prophecy  of  himself. 

c.  He  bases  another  argument  on  the  doctrine  of  the  millen 
nium  taught  in  the  Apocalypse.     Counting  by  lunar  years, 
he  divides  the  time  since  the  appearance  of  Jesus  into  two 

*  Sura,  LXI. 


REFORM  CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD  FAITHS  143 

millenniums,  and  makes  his  own  appearance  the  beginning  of 
the  third.  The  first  is  the  millennium  of  the  devil's  imprison 
ment,  during  which  time  Muhammad  appeared.  The  second 
is  the  millennium  of  the  devil's  freedom,  marked  by  the  declen 
sion  of  Islam  and  a  frightful  growth  of  evil.  The  third, 
which  the  new  Messiah  introduces,  is  the  millennium  of  the 
Kingdom  of  God. 

d.  He  draws  out  a  great  many  parallels  between  Jesus  and 
himself.     There  is  first  the  political  parallel:     the  Indians 
under  British  rule  are  in  very  much  the  same  condition  as  the 
Jews  were  under  the  Romans.    Next  comes  the  moral  and 
religious  parallel :  the  corruptions  of  India  to-day  are  in  many 
respects  like  the  corruptions  of  Palestine  in  the  time  of  Christ. 
Thirdly,  he  describes  himself  as  a  divinely  appointed  media 
tor  between  God  and  man,  a  true  intercessor  for  man,  and  a 
perfect  image  of  God.     On  the  ground  of  these  parallels  he 
claims  that  his  mission  is  altogether  like  the  mission  of  Christ. 

e.  He  also  claims  that  he  is  able  to  prove  the  truth  of  his 
Messiahship  by  miracle.     The  only  facts  seriously  put  forward 
as  miracles  are  certain  prophecies  which  he  made. 

It  is  said  that  he  predicted  the  death  of  no  less  than  one 
hundred  and  twenty-one  persons.  Of  these  we  need  refer  only 
to  two.  He  predicted  the  death  of  Pandit  Lekh  Ram,  his  chief 
antagonist  in  the  Arya  Samaj.  The  man  was  murdered  soon 
afterwards,  under  circumstances  which  gave  rise  to  the  strong 
suspicion  that  it  was  the  deed  of  a  Muhammadan  who  had 
managed  to  become  intimate  with  the  pandit  on  the  pretence 
of  being  an  enquirer.  Again,  he  predicted  that  his  Christian 
antagonist,  Deputy  Abdullah  Atham,  would  die  within  the 
space  of  fifteen  months.  Precautions  were  taken  by  Mr. 
Atham's  friends  to  protect  him  from  possible  assassination, 
and  he  outlived  the  time  assigned  to  him.  These  prophecies 
went  on  for  some  time ;  but  they  proved  so  mischievous  and 
dangerous  that,  on  the  24th  of  February,  1899,  the  Govern- 


144    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

ment  of  the  Panjab  issued  an  order,  ordering  him  to  cease 
making  such  prophecies.  The  prophet,  under  grave  pressure 
from  the  Government,  solemnly  promised  : 

(1)  To   refrain   from   publishing   any  prediction  involving 
the  disgrace  of  any  person,  or  in  which  anyone  should  be  repre 
sented  as  an  object  of  God's  displeasure. 

(2)  To   refrain   from   publishing   any   challenge   to   appeal 
to  God  to  indicate  by  the  signs  of  His  displeasure,  such  as  dis 
grace,  etc.,  the  party  in  a  religious  controversy  which  is  in  the 
wrong. 

(3)  To  refrain  from  publishing  any  writing  purporting  to 
be  an  inspiration,  the  object  of  which  can  be  reasonably  taken 
to  be  the  disgrace  of  any  person,  or  the  representing  of  him  as 
an  object  of  the  Divine  wrath.1 

He  also  predicted  the  birth  of  sons  to  certain  friends,  but, 
unfortunately,  fulfilment  did  not  always  follow.  Sometimes 
there  was  no  birth  at  all,  sometimes  the  sons  turned  out  to  be 
daughters,  to  the  disgust  of  the  parties  and  the  discomfiture 
of  the  prophet. 

In  1898  he  published  a  pamphlet  called,  A  Revealed  Cure  for 
the  Bubonic  Plague,  in  which  he  declared  the  Marham-i-Isd,  or 
Ointment  of  Jesus,  mentioned  above,  to  be  a  perfect  remedy 
for  bubonic  plague,  on  the  ground  that  it  had  been  "prepared 
solely  under  the  influence  of  divine  inspiration."  Hakim 
Muhammad  Husain  of  Lahore  was  the  manufacturer  of  the 
ointment.  Unfortunately,  the  Government  again  interfered 
with  the  action  of  his  "  divine  inspiration,"  and  prohibited 
the  exploitation  of  the  specific. 

He  also  prophesied  that  his  people  would  be  immune  from 
pestilence  without  plague  inoculation. 

His  own  death  from  cholera  in  1908  formed  a  fitting  climax 
to  this  series  of  fraudulent  impostures. 

/.  His  claim  to  be  the  Second  Adam  is  another  of  his  argu 
ments  for  his  Messiahship.  Dr.  Griswold  writes : 2 

1  Akhbar  i  Amm  of  Lahore,  March  17th,  1899.  2  Pp.  6-7. 


REFORM  CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD  FAITHS  145 

At  the  close  of  the  sixth  day,  God  created  the  first  Adam. 
But  one  day  is  with  the  Lord  as  a  thousand  years.  Therefore 
at  the  close  of  the  sixth  millenium  or  the  beginning  of  the  seventh, 
the  second  Adam  is  to  appear.  We  are  now  at  the  beginning 
of  the  seventh  millenium,  if  we  reckon  according  to  the  lunar 
year,  which  is  the  inspired  mode  of  reckoning ;  and  so  the  time 
is  fulfilled  for  the  second  Adam  to  be  manifested.  Where  is  the 
Second  Adam  to  appear  ?  "In  the  East  and  not  in  the  West," 
says  the  Mirza  Sahib;  "for  from  Gen.  ii.  8  we  learn  that  God 
had  put  the  first  Adam  in  a  garden  eastward.  It  is  therefore 
necessary  that  the  second  Adam  should  appear  in  the  East, 
in  order  to  have  a  resemblance  with  the  first  in  respect  of  his 
locality." 

g.  Towards  the  end  of  his  life  he  began  to  claim  that  he  was 
greater  than  Christ : 

I  swear  by  the  Lord  .  .  .  that  the  words  expressing  my 
dignity  revealed  from  God  .  .  .  are  far  more  weighty  and 
glorious  than  the  words  of  the  Gospels  relating  to  Jesus.  .  .  . 
My  superiority  lies  in  being  the  Messiah  of  Muhammad,  as 
Jesus  was  the  Messiah  of  Moses.1 

He  also  began  to  carp  at  the  character  of  Christ,  accusing  Him 
of  drunkenness,  lack  of  philanthropy  and  several  other  such 
things. 

He  has  not  so  much  to  say  in  proof  that  he  is  the  Mahdi, 
yet  a  couple  of  arguments  may  be  noted. 

i.  There  is  a  saying  traditionally  ascribed  to  Muhammad 
which  runs : 

What  will  be  your  condition  when  the  Son  of  Mary  shall 
descend  among  you,  and  your  Iman  from  you? 

Clearly  the  Messiah  and  the  Mahdi  are  here  regarded  as  dis 
tinct  personalities,  the  Messiah  coming  from  heaven,  the 
Mahdi  arising  among  Muslims.  Hence  the  Mirza  translates 
the  passage : 

1  P.  15. 

L 


146   MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

What  will  be  your  condition  when  the  Son  of  Mary  shall 
descend  among  you?  Who  is  he?  He  will  be  your  Iman, 
who  will  be  born  from  among  you. 

This  opens  the  way  for  his  own  claims. 

ii.  He  cites  the  passage  from  the  Koran  quoted  above1 
as  a  proof  that  he  is  the  Mahdi,  declaring  himself  the  Buruz 
or  spiritual  reappearance  of  Muhammad. 

3.  Apart  from  these  personal  claims,  his  teaching  is  an  at 
tempt  to  find,  amidst  the  irresistible  inrush  of  Western  edu 
cation  and  Christian  thought,  a  middle  path  between  im 
possible  orthodoxy  and  the  extreme  rationalism  of  Sir 
Syed  Ahmad  Khan.2  He  is  opposed  to  jihad,  i.e.  Muslim 
religious  warfare,  and  the  spirit  of  the  ghdzi,  or  religious 
fanatic,  as  well  as  to  a  bloody  Mahdi ;  and  he  condemns 
tomb- worship.  He  says  the  Koran  teaches  that  slavery  ought 
to  be  gradually  abolished.  He  says  polygamy,  the  veiling  of 
women  and  divorce  were  permitted  by  Muhammad  to  pre 
vent  worse  evils. 

His  sect,  which,  in  organization,  is  like  a  Samaj,  has  its 
headquarters  in  Qadian,  and  is  called  the  Sadr  Anjuman-i- 
Ahmadiya,  or  Chief  Society  of  Ahmad. 

His  success  shews  that  he  was  in  some  respects  an  able  man, 
but  one  can  scarcely  say  more  than  that.  The  reasoning 
which  we  have  given  above  as  advanced  in  support  of  his 
claims  is  a  fair  sample  of  his  teaching  and  of  his  thought.  One 
might  illustrate  his  scholarship  by  the  puerilities  he  advanced 
to  shew  that  Arabic  is  the  mother  of  all  languages.  He  was 
probably  self-deceived  in  the  matter  of  his  Messiahship  rather 
than  a  conscious  impostor,  but  one  can  scarcely  believe  him 
to  have  been  honest  in  all  his  pretensions  and  assertions. 

He  was  as  eager  for  disputation  as  Dayananda  himself,  and 
as  violent  and  unscrupulous  in  controversy.  He  was  a  most 

1  P.  142.  2  P.  92,  above. 


REFORM  CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD  FAITHS  147 

vehement  opponent  of  Christianity.  He  did  not  shew  the 
genius  for  practical  organization  that  his  great  rival  did,  but 
he  founded  a  high  school  and  a  few  other  institutions.  He 
edited  two  papers,  one  in  the  vernacular,  the  Al-Hakam,  and 
one  in  English,  the  Review  of  Religions,  and  published  large 
quantities  of  tracts,  open  letters,  challenges,  memorials  to 
Government  and  such  like.  The  sect  has  its  own  regular 
weekly  services  and  its  conferences,  like  the  Samajes. 

The  likeness  of  the  movement  to  Persian  Babism  is  very 
striking,  and  well  worth  study. 

The  whole  movement  is  outside  orthodox  Islam.  Dr. 
Griswold  writes : 1 

In  the  numerous  fat-was,  which  Muhammadan  Associations 
all  over  India  have  issued  against  the  Mirza  Sahib,  the  strong- } 
est  words  of  denunciation  are  used.  Thus  he  is  called  Kafir 
'unbeliever,'  Dajjal  'Anti-Christ,'  mulhid  'heretic,'  murtadd 
'apostate,'  kazzab  'liar,'  be-iman  'faithless,'  dag  habaz  'deceit 
ful,'  etc.,  etc.  With  such  epithets  as  these  is  the  'certificate' 
filled,  with  which  Muhammadan  orthodoxy  has  dismissed  the 
Mirza  Sahib  from  its  fellowship  and  service. 

His  successor,  Hakim  Nur-ud-Din,  was  not  a  man  of  the 
same  strength  and  capacity  as  the  founder,  yet  the  sect  went 
forward  steadily.  Nur-ud-Din  died  recently,  and  the  com 
munity  has  fallen  into  two  very  hostile  parties. 

The  sect  has  also  a  branch  in  Shorapur  in  the  Deccan. 
A  man  named  Abdulla  has  been  the  leader  there  for  many 
years,  but  he  now  declares  that  he  himself  is  the  prophet ; 
so  that  his  followers  have  fallen  into  two  companies,  one 
loyal  to  the  original  founder,  and  one  loyal  to  Abdulla. 
Feeling  runs  very  high;  orthodox  Muslims  oppose  both 
parties ;  and  three  lawsuits  are  pending  against  Abdulla. 

4.  A  member  of  the  sect,  Mr.  Khwaja  Kamal-ud-Din,  a 

1  Pp.  26-7. 


148    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

Pleader  of  the  Chief  Court,  Lahore,  began  a  Muslim  Mission 
in  England  some  two  years  ago.  He  settled  first  at  Richmond, 
but  has  recently  gone  to  Woking,  where  he  has  his  office  close 
by  the  Muhammadan  Mosque  erected  by  the  late  Dr.  Leitner, 
formerly  Principal  of  the  Oriental  College,  Lahore.  The  chief 
means  whereby  Mr.  Kamal-ud-Din  carries  on  his  propaganda 
is  a  monthly  magazine  called  Muslim  India  and  Islamic  Re 
view.  Lectures  are  also  delivered  from  time  to  time  in  differ 
ent  places.  A  new  English  translation  of  the  Koran  is  being 
prepared  for  use  in  England.  Recently,  Lord  Headley,  who 
for  years  has  proclaimed  himself  to  be  more  in  sympathy  with 
Islam  than  with  Christianity,  formally  accepted  Muhamma- 
danism  in  connection  with  the  mission.  This  accession  has 
caused  great  rejoicing  in  the  Panjab.  Two  Moulvies  have 
been  sent  to  England  from  Delhi  to  strengthen  Mr.Kamal-ud- 
Din's  hands. 

Naturally  orthodox  Muslims  do  not  quite  like  to  have 
Islam  represented  in  England  by  such  a  heterodox  group  as  the 
Ahmadlyas.  A  pamphlet  has  recently  been  written  by  the 
Secretary  of  the  Anjuman-i-Himayet-i-Islam l  in  Lahore, 
which  violently  denounces  the  mission. 

LITERATURE.  —  Mirza  Ghulam  Ahmad,  by  Dr.  H.  D.  Griswold, 
Ludhiana,  The  American  Tract  Society,  1902,  one  anna.  The 
Ahmadlya  Movement,  by  Dr.  H.  D.  Griswold  in  The  Moslem  World 
for  October,  1912.  Also  The  Review  of  Religions,  an  English  monthly 
published  in  Qadian,  and  many  little  pamphlets.  The  Unknown  Life 
of  Christ,  by  N.  Notovitch,  London,  Hutchinson  &  Co.,  1895. 

6.  THE  NAZARENE  NEW  CHURCH 

This  short-lived  organization  sprang  from  the  Ahmadlya 
movement,  but  was  so  different  in  its  teaching  that  it  must 
be  kept  distinct. 

1  See  below,  p.  347. 


REFORM  CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD  FAITHS  149 

In  1890  Mr.JE.J._S,._White,  a  Government  servant,  then 
stationed  at  Kurnool  in  South  India,  who  was  keenly  inter 
ested  in  Muhammadanism,  paid  a  visit  to  Qadian  and  was 
greatly  influenced  by  the  prophet.  But  he  could  not  follow 
him  completely ;  for  as  he  said  in  a  letter  to  a  friend  of  the 
writer  recently : 

My  view  of  Islam  has  always  been  that  it  is  the  mere  per 
verted  continuation  of  the  Nazarene  or  Ebionite  sect,  the  im 
mediate  community  of  disciples  of  our  Lord,  which  contained 
the  descendants  of  the  Lord's  brethren  and  His  own  disciples, 
and  maintained  the  pure  doctrine  derived  from  Him,  having 
nothing  to  do  with  the  Gentile  churches  founded  by  Paul, 
in  the  midst  of  which  it  became  a  heresy  and  was  crushed  out 
of  existence. 

So  he  started  the  Nazarene  New  Church,  seeking  to  mingle 
what  he  considered  to  be  the  purer  elements  of  both  Islam  and 
Christianity  in  a  Unitarian  doctrine.  He  published  a  book  of 
prayers  in  Urdu,  so  that  Muhammadans  might  be  able  to  un 
derstand  their  prayers,  which  is  scarcely  possible  while  they 
use  the  Arabic.  He  also  maintained  the  freedom  of  women 
and  the  duty  of  allowing  them  to  join,  under  restrictions,  in 
the  worship  of  the  mosque.  A  Eurasian  named  Snow  became 
a  Muhammadan  in  Hyderabad,  Deccan,  in  1892  and  became 
one  of  White's  helpers.  In  1893  a  number  of  pamphlets  were 
issued.  In  these  we  find  it  stated  that  members  of  the  Naz 
arene  New  Church  should  adhere  strictly  to  the  Law  of  Moses 
"as  perfected  by  our  Master  Jesus."  They  are  to  accept  the 
Gospel  of  Matthew  and  some  other  parts  of  the  New  Testa 
ment,  but  not  the  writings  of  John  or  Paul.  They  are  rec 
ommended  to  read  the  Koran  as  a  perfect  exposition  of  the 
Unitarian  doctrine.  Pilgrimage  to  Nazareth  is  enjoined  as 
one  of  the  principal  duties.  The  following  sentence  occurs  in 
one  of  these  pamphlets : 


l$0   MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

The  Church  in  India  is  directed  by  an  apostle  who,  until 
the  Spirit  shall  send  one  more  worthy,  is  John  White  in  the 
Blood  of  the  Lamb. 

Snow  was  guilty  of  a  good  deal  of  abusive  language  with  ref 
erence  to  Christianity.  The  founder,  who  is  still  alive  and 
resides  at  Cocanada  in  South  India,  writes : 

The  late  Daud  Khan  Bahadur,  head  of  the  Kurnool  family, 
and  a  few  other  Muhammadans  were  very  sympathetic  sup 
porters  of  the  movement.  After  I  left  Kurnool  I  endeavoured 
to  form  a  Nazariah  or  Qadiani  Jamaat  at  Ellore,  at  Secunder- 
abad  and  in  Madras,  but  nothing  came  of  it. 

So  the  movement  soon  ended. 


The  two  Hindu  movements  which  use  the  person  of  Christ 
are  small  groups,  almost  altogether  confined  to  the  common 
people. 

7.  THE  CHET  RAMIS* 

In  a  village  in  the  Lahore  district  of  the  Panjab,  Chet  Ram 
was  born  about  1835.  The  family  were  Vishnuites  by  sect, 
and  belonged  to  a  class  of  shop-keepers  and  money-lenders. 
Chet  Ram  was  uneducated,  and  almost  illiterate.  He  could 
keep  his  shop  accounts  but  that  was  all.  He  spent  some  two 
years  in  China,  from  about  1858  to  1860,  as  a  camp-follower  in 
the  second  Chinese  war.  When  he  returned,  he  settled  down 
in  his  father-in-law's  village  Buchhoke,  and  kept  a  shop  and 
sold  opium  and  liquor. 

To  this  shop  there  came  from  time  to  time  a  Muhammadan 
ascetic  of  the  Chisti  order,  named  Syed  Mahbub  Shah.  He 
was  given  to  drink,  and  was  often  seen  in  the  village  in  a 
dull  intoxicated  condition.  Clearly,  the  man's  teaching  was 

1  All  my  information  about  this  sect  is  derived  from  Dr.  Griswold's  pam 
phlet,  The  Chet  Kami  Sect,  Cawnpore,  Christ  Church  Mission  Press,  1904. 
The  references  are  to  its  pages. 


REFORM    CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD  FAITHS  151 

eclectic ;  for  he  gathered  Hindu  as  well  as  Muhammadan 
disciples,  and  he  was  accustomed  to  speak  about  Christ.  Up 
to  this  time  Chet  Ram  was  an  idolater.  Then,  probably 
when  he  was  about  twenty-seven  years  of  age,  he  became 
fascinated  by  Mahbub.  He  became  his  disciple,  and  hence 
forward  followed  him  everywhere,  and  served  him  with  the 
utmost  faithfulness.  We  have  no  record  of  what  Mahbub 
taught  him ;  but  it  seems  clear  that  he  led  him  to  reverence 
Christ  and  the  Bible. 

Mahbub  died  when  Chet  Ram  had  been  his  disciple  for  some 
three  or  four  years,  probably  about  1865  or  1867.  He  was 
buried  at  Buchhoke ;  and,  for  three  years,  Chet  Ram  haunted 
the  tomb,  sleeping  on  it  every  night,  or  actually  inside  it,  as 
tradition  now  goes.  Then  one  night  he  had  a  vision  of  Jesus 
Christ,  and  received  a  command  from  Him  to  build  a  church 
on  that  very  spot  and  to  place  a  Bible  therein.  A  simple 
Panjabi  poem,  ascribed  to  Chet  Ram,  describes  the  vision. 
We  quote  a  few  of  the  stanzas  of  a  translation  made  by  the 
Rev.  G.  L.  Thakur  Dass  of  Lahore : 

1.  Upon  the  grave  of  Master  Mahbub  Shah 
Slept  Sain  Chet  Ram. 

2.  0  dear  (reader)  it  was  midnight, 

Full  moon,  stars  were  as  hanging  lamps ; 

3.  Unique  was  that  night,  surpassing  the  shab  qadr ; 
Rays  were  falling  from  the  full  moon. 

4.  There  appeared  a  man 

Whose  description  is  without  bounds  ; 

5.  A  man  came  in  a  glorious  form 
Showing  the  face  of  mercy ; 

6.  His  countenance  beautiful  as  the  full  moon, 
No  man  could  look  at  that  beauty ; 


152    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

7.  Glorious  form,  tall  in  stature  and  erect, 
Appeared  as  if  a  clear  mystery  of  the  Deity. 

8.  Sweet  was  his  speech,  and  simple  his  face, 
Appearing  entirely  as  the  image  of  God. 

9.  Such  a  glory  was  never  seen  before, 

The  coming  of  the  Lord  Himself  was  recognized  in  it. 


25.  Afterwards  I  began  to  think, 

What  was  all  this  which  Omnipotence  did  ? 

26.  Then  my  soul  realized 

That  Jesus  came  to  give  salvation.1 

The  date  of  the  vision  must  have  been  somewhere  between 
1868  and  1870.  From  that  time  Chet  Ram  became,  in  his 
own  way,  a  follower  of  Christ.  He  built  a  small  church  and 
placed  a  Bible  in  it,  and  began  to  gather  disciples  "  in  the  name 
of  Christ."  He  succeeded  in  inducing  a  number  of  men  and 
women,  both  Hindu  and  Muhammadan,  to  attach  themselves 
to  him.  He  lived  a  wandering  life,  moving  about  the  country 
with  a  number  of  his  followers,  everywhere  proclaiming  Jesus 
as  Lord,  and  suffering  much  persecution  from  both  Hindus 
and  Muhammadans.  He  sought  the  friendship  of  Christians 
and  missionaries  in  a  general  way,  but  did  not  join  the  Chris 
tian  church.  One  Sunday  in  1897,  Chet  Ram  and  his  followers 
came  to  the  American  Mission  Compound  in  Lahore;  and 
both  the  Rev.  C.  W.  Forman  and  the  Rev.  C.  B.  Newton 
give  accounts  of  the  appearance  and  the  behaviour  of  the 
leader  and  his  disciples.  Mr.  Newton  went  with  them  to 
Buchhoke,  and  saw  the  church.  We  have  also  a  report  from 
a  missionary  in  Ludhiana  of  the  year  1888. 

Chet  Ram  died  at  Buchhoke  in  1894  and  was  cremated ;  and 
his  bones  were  buried  beside  his  master's. 

*  Pp.  4-6. 


REFORM  CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD  FAITHS  153 

Of  Chet  Ram's  character  Mr.  Newton  gives  us  a  very  pleas 
ing  picture,  though  it  is  clear  that  he  had  but  little  knowledge 
of  Christ:1 

During  my  stay,  I  had  an  opportunity  of  observing  Chet 
Ram's  conduct  and  character;  and  certainly  the  case  is  a 
remarkable  one,  though  the  good  in  him  is  so  obscured  by 
superstition  and  ignorance,  that  one  can  scarcely  call  his 
case  a  very  hopeful  one.  He  manifests  on  all  occasions  a  strong 
feeling  of  love  and  reverence  for  Christ,  and  undergoes  perse 
cution  and  contumely  for  His  name.  His  treatment  of  others 
is  marked  by  a  spirit  of  rare  kindness  and  generosity.  One 
day  a  faqir,  a  total  stranger,  from  some  distant  place,  came  to 
the  takyti,  and  told  a  story  of  his  sufferings,  having  been  robbed 
of  some  article  of  clothing.  Chet  Ram  at  once  pulled  off  his 
own  principal  garment,  and  gave  it  to  him.  He  never  refuses 
appeals  of  this  kind. 

He  was  no  real  student  of  the  Bible.    He  was  ignorant  and  had 
no  desire  to  read.     Sometimes  his  talk  was  quite  incoherent. 

Chet  Ram's  daughter  was  appointed  his  successor  and  the 
head  of  his  sect,  while  the  leader  was  alive.  She  is  an  unmar 
ried  woman,  and  is  pledged  to  lifelong  celibacy.  She  lives  at 
the  headquarters  of  the  sect,  which  are  now  in  Lahore. 

Just  outside  the  Taxali  Gate,  Lahore,  and  at  a  distance  of 
only  two  or  three  hundred  feet  from  the  Royal  Mosque  is  a 
small  garden  thickly  planted  with  trees  and  flowers  and  trailing 
vines  and  containing  a  tiny  square  building  and  several  faqirs' 
huts.  The  square  building  has  one  room,  perhaps  fourteen 
feet  by  ten,  and  contains  certain  relics  of  Chet  Ram  such  as 
his  bed  and  his  Bible.  In  front  of  the  building  is  a  pole  sur 
mounted  by  a  cross.  Such  are  the  monastic  headquarters 
of  the  Chet  Rami  Sect  in  Lahore.2 

The  only  other  leader  whose  name  is  known  is  one  Munshi 
Nathu,  who  has  been  called  the  theologian  of  the  sect.    He  has 
interpolated  large  pieces  into  Chet  Ram's  poem. 
1  P.  9.  2  P.  i. 


154    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

The  creed  of  the  sect  is  quite  short.  It  is  engraved  on  a 
tablet  over  the  door  of  Chet  Ram's  cell  at  headquarters.  The 
translation  is  as  follows : 

Help,  O  Jesus,  Son  of  Mary,  Holy  Spirit,  Lord  God  Shepherd. 
Read  the  Bible  and  the  Gospels  for  salvation.  Signed  by 
Chet  Ram  and  the  followers.1 

In  this  we  note  the  recognition  of  the  Trinity,  the  duty  of 
reading  the  Bible  and  the  belief  that  salvation  is  made  known 
in  the  Gospels. 

The  sect  teaches  another  doctrine  of  the  Trinity  besides 
that  contained  in  the  above  creed.  They  believe  in  the  exist 
ence  of  Allah  the  Creator,  Paramesvara  the  Preserver,  and 
Khuda  the  Destroyer ;  and  they  use  this  trinity  to  set  forth 
the  supremacy  of  Jesus.  Allah  represents  Muhammadanism, 
Paramesvara  Hinduism,  and  Khuda,  who  is  the  greatest  of  the 
three,  is  Jesus.  Jesus  is  the  true  God.  He  is  the  giver  of  all 
gifts.  All  the  Muhammadan  prophets  and  saints  and  the 
Hindu  gods  and  incarnations  were  sent  by  Jesus.  He  is  the 
supreme  ruler  over  all.  He  is  the  Son  of  God.  The  Father 
and  the  Son  are  of  one  nature. 

Now  that  Chet  Ram  is  dead,  his  followers  give  him  a  very 
exalted  place.  They  say  he  is  not  dead,  but  is  present  now 
and  works  in  the  hearts  of  his  followers.  As  Hindus  recognize 
their  guru  to  be  God,  they  consider  Chet  Ram  to  be  Christ 
Himself.  They  praise  Chet  Ram  as  much  as  they  praise 
Christ.  They  are  accustomed  to  say : 

There  is  a  God,  if  Chet  Ram  says  so ; 
There  is  no  God,  if  Chet  Ram  says  no. 

After  his  cremation,  his  ashes  were  mixed  with  water  and 
eagerly  swallowed  by  his  disciples.  It  is  their  veneration  for 
their  Teacher  which  keeps  them  from  joining  the  Christian 

Church. 

1  P.  13- 


REFORM  CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD  FAITHS  155 

The  followers  of  Chet  Ram  are  either  householders  or  monks. 
When  a  man  joins  the  community,  there  is  a  ceremony  of  bap 
tism.  When  a  birth  takes  place,  the  creed  is  recited  in  the 
ears  of  the  child,  and  also  the  names  of  the  twelve  Apostles. 
When  a  member  wants  to  become  a  Chet  Rami  monk,  he  tears 
off  his  clothes,  casts  dust  upon  his  head  and  thus  becomes 
a  monk.  This  is  known  as  Earth-baptism.  The  monks  get 
their  living  by  begging ;  and  they  are  the  only  clergy  of  the 
sect.  It  is  their  business  to  preach  the  Gospel  of  Chet  Ram. 
Like  most  modern  Indian  ascetics,  they  are  addicted  to  the 
use  of  intoxicating  drugs,  such  as  bhang,  charas,  opium. 

As  to  the  Chet  Rami  worship  Dr.  Griswold  writes : J 

There  does  not  seem  to  be  any  fixed  form  of  worship  among 
the  Chet  Ramis.  One  old  faqir  declared  that  for  the  enlight 
ened  there  is  no  need  of  religious  worship.  'We  have  re 
ceived,'  said  he;  'worship  is  for  those  who  have  not  received.' 
I  invited  Munshi  Nathu  to  attend  our  Church  services  in 
Lahore.  He  proceeded  to  tell  me  that  all  such  worship  is 
man-made  worship.  I  have  spent  many  hours  at  the  Chet 
Rami  Khanqah  in  Lahore,  conversing  with  Munshi  Nathu. 
He  said  to  me  on  one  occasion,  'This  conversation  of  ours  is 
worship:  no  other  worship  is  needed.'  All  Chet  Ramis  are 
supposed  to  own  a  Bible,  and  the  few  who  can  read  doubtless 
read  it.  Ghulam  Muhammad  one  day  said  to  me:  'I  read  the 
Bible  every  day  and  especially  on  the  Sabbath.  I  was  just 
reading  the  first  chapter  of  John's  Gospel,  when  you  arrived.' 
The  Chet  Rami  creed  is  repeated  as  an  act  of  worship,  and  the 
Hymn  of  Chet  Ram  is  chanted.  There  are  some  forms  of  wor 
ship  which  show  decidedly  the  influence  of  Hinduism  and 
Mohammedanism.  At  the  Khanqah  in  Lahore  are  preserved 
with  great  care  certain  relics  of  Chet  Ram.  At  evening  lighted 
lamps  are  placed  before  the  Cross  and  the  Bible.  On  one  oc 
casion  I  noticed  the  evening  worship  of  two  Chet  Rami  women. 
They  came  and  bowed  themselves  to  the  ground  first  before 
the  cross  and  then  before  the  Bible,  and  so  went  their  way.  A 

1  Pp.  21-2. 


156    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

considerable  use  is  made  of  amulets.  Charms  are  made  and 
inscribed  with  the  Chet  RamI  Creed  and  with  the  names  of  the 
Twelve  Apostles,  and  hung  about  the  neck. 

Most  of  the  members  of  the  sect  are  poor,  illiterate  people. 
They  are  a  small  body,  probably  less  than  a  thousand  in  num 
ber.  There  is  a  good  deal  of  brotherly  feeling  amongst  them. 
Yet  caste  remains  among  them,  and  Hindu  converts  do  not 
mix  with  Muhammadan  converts.  The  duty  of  philanthropy, 
and  of  the  endurance  of  persecution,  has  been  carefully  taught 
them,  but,  apart  from  that,  there  does  not  seem  to  be  much 
emphasis  on  morality.  They  frequently  carry  a  long  rod 
surmounted  by  a  cross.  On  the  horizontal  bar  of  the  cross 
there  is  usually  inscribed  the  creed  of  the  sect. 

8.  THE  ISAMOSHIPANTHIS 

A  group  of  Hindus  in  South  Behar,  mostly  cobblers  and 
masons,  have  formed  a  new  sect  and  call  themselves  Isd- 
moshipanthis,  i.e.,  the  Jesus-Messiah-followers.1  Besides  these 
simple  people,  there  are  a  few  educated  ascetics  who  are  iden 
tified  with  the  sect.  They  study  the  Bible,  and  lay  a  good 
deal  of  stress  on  the  teaching  of  Jesus.  They  do  not  class 
Christ  with  the  incarnations  of  Vishnu ;  yet  they  have  mixed 
up  His  life  with  the  story  of  Krishna.  Christ's  death  is  of 
more  importance  to  them  than  His  resurrection.  They  meet 
for  worship  on  Fridays.  It  is  said  that  the  sect  is  the  result 
of  the  teaching  of  one  of  the  disciples  of  Sivanarayana  Para- 
mahamsa.2  I  am  told  they  number  two  to  three  thousand. 

The  four  movements  which  close  this  chapter  are  grouped 
together,  because,  though  they  have  all  accepted  a  good 
deal  that  is  new,  the  system  in  each  case  is  very  distinctly 

1  My  informant  is  Mr.  B.  C.  Sircar,  M.  A.,  one  of  the  National  Secretaries 
of  the  Y.  M.  C.  A.  in  India.  2  Above,  p.  129. 


REFORM  CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD  FAITHS  157 

Hindu,  and  the  worship  of  the  teacher  as  God  is  prominent 
in  all.  The  first  pair  are  closely  related  in  the  elements  they 
borrow  from  the  West  and  in  the  claim  that  their  teaching 
is  scientifically  trustworthy  and  verifiable. 

9.  THE  RADHA  SOAMI  SATSANG 

i .  The  word  satsang  seems  to  come  from  the  Sikhs,  among 
whom  it  means  "a  company  of  pious  people."  The  phrase 
Radha  Soami  cannot  be  explained  apart  from  the  history  of 
the  sect.  It  is  dealt  with  below.1 

In  order  to  secure  a  reliable  account  of  this  society  and  its 
teaching,  a  few  paragraphs  are  here  transcribed  from  a  manual 
of  doctrine  published  by  the  second  guru.2 

1.  The  Radha  Soami  faith  derives  its  name  from  its  original 
Founder,  the  Supreme  Being,  Radha  Soami,  who  appeared  in 
this  world  in  human  form  and  designated  Himself  Sant  Satguru 
or  perfect  Saint  or  true  Guide  and  Preceptor,  and  preached  holy 
doctrines   to  sincere  enquirers  of  Truth  for  the  deliverance 
of  their  spirit  from  the  bondage  of  body  and  its  surroundings, 
as  well  as  from  the  pains  and  pleasures  of  this  world,  and  for 
the  ultimate  admission  of  their  spirit  into  the  Holy  Presence 
of  the  Supreme  Being  after  traversing  and  breaking  through 
the  trammels  and  impediments  in  the  material  spheres. 

2.  The  Holy  name  Radha  Soami  has  been  given  out  by  the 
Supreme  Being  Himself.    It  resounds  in  splendid  refulgence 
in  the  higher  spheres,  and  can  be  heard  within  themselves 
by  those  who  perform  devotion  by  practising  Surat  Sabd  Yoga 
according  to  the  instructions  given  by  the  Supreme  Being 
Himself. 

4.  This  Holy  name  R5,dh5,  So3,mi  signifies  both  the  Supreme 
Being  and  the  original  Spirit  or  Sound  current  (or  Word)  which 

1  See  p.  167. 

2  Radha  Soami  Mat  Prakdsh.    The  numbers  of  the  sections  are  retained. 


158    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

emanated  from  His  Holy  Feet,  and  which  is  the  prime  factor 
and  principal  agent  in  the  whole  creation. 

6.  The  three  degrees  or  grand  divisions,  comprised  in  the 
entire  creation,  according  to  Radha  Soami  faith  are : 

1.  SPIRITUAL 

2.  SPIRITUAL-MATERIAL 

3.  MATERIAL-SPIRITUAL 

Pure  spirit,  uncontaminated  with  matter,  exists  in  the 
first  grand  division.  Here  the  Supreme  Being  reigns  over 
absolutely  spiritual  life.  This,  the  purest  possible  form  of 
life,  has  no  desire  but  to  love  and  serve  the  Supreme  Being. 
The  joys  —  the  very  existence  —  of  this  pure  spirit-life  are 
derived  from  the  Supreme  Being  who  is  the  Ocean  of  spirit, 
love  and  joy.  Nothing  concerning  this  degree  is  known  or 
has  been  known  to  the  founder  of  any  religious  creed.  It  com 
prises  six  sub-divisions  and  is  called  the  Dayal  Desh  or  the  Re 
gions  of  Mercy. 

7.  The  second  or  Spiritual-Material  degree  or  grand  division 
is  entirely  free  from  all  worldly  passions  and  desires  of  the  lower 
order.     Likening  the  Supreme  Being  to  an  Ocean,  the  president 
of  the  second  degree  is  a  tide  from  that  Ocean.     He  is  a  kind 
of  Viceroy  who  rules  over  all  life  existing  in  the  space  com 
prised  in  the  second  and  third  grand  divisions  committed  to 
his  care.     As  its  name  indicates,  the  spiritual-material  degree 
contains  both  spirit  and  matter.     But  matter  is,  comparatively 
speaking,  pure  and  is  subject  to,  and  controlled  by  spirit.     Life 
here  is  very  pure,  and,  though  clothed  in  pure  material  forms, 
spirit    predominates.     This    degree    also    comprises    six    sub 
divisions  and  is  called  the  Brahman(Ja  or  the  regions  of  Uni 
versal  Mind  and  pure  matter. 

8.  In  the  third  or  Material-Spiritual  degree  matter  predomi 
nates  over  spirit.     Life  is  composed  of  spirits  wholly  clothed 
in  coarse  matter.     Having  quite  forgotten  the  higher  abode 
from  which  they  originally  sprang,  the  spirits  here  have  ac 
quired  carnal  desires  and  passions.    This  also  comprises  six 


REFORM  CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD  FAITHS  159 

sub-divisions  and  is  called  the  Pinola  or  the  regions  of  Individual 
Mind  and  coarse  matter. 

9.  This  degree  is  dominated  over  by  a  wave  emanating  from 
the  Supreme  Being  and  flowing  through  the  tide  which  has 
already  been  likened  to  a  Viceroy.  This  wave  or  current  may, 
for  want  of  a  better  name,  be  called  a  Governor  who  presides 
over  the  Material  Universe  and  controls  matter. 

12.  The  Supreme  Being,  as  already  said,  is  unknown.    The 
Spirit  or  the  Viceroy  who  presides  over  the  second  degree,  is 
the  Lord  God  of  the  Bible:   he  is  the  Sat  or  Sacchitanand  or 
Brahman  of  the  Vedanta,  the  Nirvana  of  the  Jains  and  the 
Buddhists  and  the  Lahut  of  the  Mahomedan   Saints.     The 
Spirit  or  Governor  who  rules  over  the  third  degree  is  the  Brahma 
or  Parmatma  or  God  of  most  religions  in  the  world. 

13.  The  entire  creation  below  the  first  degree  is  composed 
of  two  parts,  namely,  spirit  which  is  all  good  and  pure,  and 
matter  which  is  always  more  or  less  bad.     Man  is  a  drop  from 
the  Ocean,  that  is,  the  Supreme  Being.     This  drop  of  pure 
good  spirit  is  so  mixed  with  matter  that  it  becomes  in  bondage 
thereto,  and  unless  aided  by  a  Superior  Spirit  is  always  liable 
to  yield  to  temptation  and  deteriorate  or  sink  down  in  matter. 

1 6.  There  are  two  streams  in  our  solar  system ;  the  one  ever 
improving,  the  other  always  deteriorating.  The  spirits  of 
the  first  of  these  streams  pass  from  plants  through  the  lower 
creation  till  they  reach  man;  they  then  become  angels  or 
heavenly  spirits  and  ultimately  merge  into  the  Supreme  Being 
or  remain  in  His  Presence.  Maintenance  of  individuality  in 
the  changes  later  than  man  depends  upon  the  practice  of  de 
votion  according  to  Surat  Sabd  Yoga  or  the  union  of  the  Spirit 
with  the  Word  —  the  Word  being  the  emanation  from  the 
Supreme  Being.  If  such  devotion  be  not  practised,  the  spirit 
loses  its  previous  individuality  and  becomes  merged  into  a 
lower  stage  fit  for  its  reception.  A  devotee,  when  merged  into 
the  Supreme  Being,  can  assume  his  individuality  at  pleasure. 
Such  a  being  is  called  a  perfect  Sant,  a  Special  and  Beloved 


160    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

Son  of  the  Supreme  Being.  But  the  spirits  who  belong  to  the 
deteriorating  stream  are  wholly  under  the  influence  of  matter. 
At  every  change  they  get  lower  and  lower  until  they  reach  the 
lowest  form  in  the  creation. 

17.  The   Supreme   Being   has   Special   and   Beloved   Sons 
called  Sants  and  Param  Sants,  who  are  full  of  mercy  and  love 
and  who  descend  periodically  upon  the  earth  to  deliver  spirits 
from  the  bondage  of  matter  and  to  carry  them  to  the  Presence 
of  the  Supreme  Father. 

1 8.  Any  one  desirous  of  reaching  the  Supreme  Being  must 
search  for  a  Sant  Satguru  (incarnation  of  the  Supreme  Being) 
or  a  Sadh  Guru  (one  who  has  reached  the  top  of  the  second 
grand  division)  and  invoke  His  help,  and  receive  instructions 
from  one  of  these  Superior  Guides,  as  to  the  manner  of  his 
devotion  and  procedure. 

21.  The  name  of  the  Supreme  Being  is  Radha  Soami.    He 
is  impersonal,  but  personal  in  the  second  and  third  divisions 
and  when  He  manifests  Himself  through  humanity  as  Sant 
Satguru.     His  attributes  are  mostly  met  with    in    the    Sant 
Satguru,  who  might  be  called  an  incarnation  of  Sat  Purush 
Radha  Soami,  the  true  Supreme  Being. 

22.  The  deliverance  of  spirit  from  the  bondage  of  body, 
senses  and  mind,  and  its  gradual  ascension  and  eventual  en 
trance  into  the  first  or  highest  division  by  the  practice  of  Surat 
Sabd  Yoga  is  perfect  salvation  according  to  Radha  Soami  faith. 

24.  Radha  Soami  faith  is  not  built  on  the  basis  of  scriptures 
appertaining  to  Hindu  or  any  other  religion,  but  on  the  pre 
cepts  or  instructions  of  the  Supreme  Being  Himself,  Who  ap 
peared  on  this  earth  in  human  form  and  graciously  performed 
the  functions  of  a  Sant  Satguru  for  the  benefit  of  degraded  hu 
manity. 

25.  The  sound  heard  internally  is  a  current  which  has  orig 
inally  emanated  from  the  Supreme  Being  and  is  the  means  not 


REFORM  CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD  FAITHS  161 

only  of  concentrating  the  will  but  also  of  raising  the  spirit  to 
the  source  from  which  it  emanated. 

27.  It  must  be  clearly  understood  that  by  S'abd  or  Word 
or  internal  voice  is  meant  the  spirit  or  life  current  which  en 
livens  every  part  of  the  body  and  is  the  main  principle  or  es 
sence  which  supports  life  in  and  gives  activity  to  every  being 
or  body  in  the  whole  creation  or  Universe. 

28.  At  present  the  spirit  of  man  is  residing  in  the  third  or 
material-spiritual  region,  and  has,  therefore,  to  do  all  the  work 
here  by  means  of  the  senses  and  the  mind  which  are  mediums 
between  it  and  the  material  objects,  and  consequently,  as  a 
natural  result,  its  power  has  become  quite  hampered.     But  as 
soon  as  it  begins  to  ascend,  the  powers  which  are  now  lying 
dormant,  become  active  and  the  spirit  acquires  ultra-material 
or  higher  powers. 

29.  The  method  for  taking  back  the  spirit  to  its  Supreme 
source  is  first  to  concentrate  at  the  focus  of  the  eyes  the  spirit 
and  mind  which  are  diffused  in  our  body  and  in  a  manner  tied 
to  external  objects  by  desires  and  passions,  and  next  to  com 
mence  its  journey  homewards  by  attending  to  the  internal 
sound,  or  in  other  words,  by  riding  the  life  or  sound  current  which 
has  originally  emanated  from  the  Supreme  source. 

30.  The  current   which  has  been  instrumental  in  having 
brought  it  down  here  must  naturally  be  the  only  true  path  for 
its  return  to  the  original  source,  and  whoever  finds  this  current 
is  on  the  path  of  emancipation.     This  current  which  is  the  spirit 
and  life  current,  is  called  in  the  Radha  Soami  faith,  Sound 
($abd)  or  Word  or  Holy  Name. 

34.  To  approach  the  Supreme  Being,  there  is  absolutely  no 
other  means  except  the  practice  of  Surat  £abd  Yoga  under  the 
guidance  of  a  Sant  Satguru  or  a  Sadh  Guru,  or  a  sincere  lover 
of  the  Supreme  Being  who  has  received  instructions  from,  and 
is  helped  in  his  practice  by  one  of  those  Superior  and  Holy 
Spirits. 


162    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

35.  Prayer  is  necessary  to  obtain  blessing  and  mercy  to 
help  man's  perfect  salvation,  but  it  must  be  offered  from  the 
inmost  heart  and  not  confined  to  mere  utterance.  It  must 
be  also  backed  up  by  works  of  faith  and  charity  performed 
through  love  and  affection  for  the  Supreme  Being. 

37.  In  following  this  mode  of  devotion  the  following  restric 
tions  are  made  with  regard  to  diet  and  mode  of  living.     No 
intoxicating  drink  or  drug  and  animal  food  is  to  be    taken  and 
immoderate  indulgence  in  any  desire  is  to  be  avoided.     Animal 
food  is  forbidden  on  account  of  its  producing  a  material  tendency 
in  human  nature,  and  intoxicating  drink  is  detrimental  to  a 
calm  and  natural  state  of  the  brain  and  the  nervous  system. 
Other  public  and  private  duties  should  be  carried  on  as  usual. 

38.  The   moral   code  appertaining   to   Radha   Soami  faith 
is  comprised  in  two  sentences : 

(1)  All  acts  including  spiritual  practice  which  tend  to  free 
the  spirit  from  matter  and  raise  it  towards  its  source  are  good 
works. 

(2)  All  acts  which  tend  to  degrade  the  spirit  by  weighing  it 
downwards   deeper  and  deeper  into  matter  are  bad  works. 
Again  any  action  done  with  a  view  to  help  the  needy  from  un 
selfish  motives  is  good  work;    and  the  contrary,  bad  work  in 
this  world. 

147.  A  member  of  Radha  Soami  faith  is  strictly  forbidden 
to  divulge  the  secrets  or  mention  to  any  one  (even  to  a  fellow 
member  without  express  permission)  the  glory  and  wonder  of 
the  higher  creation  he  sees  now  and  then  within  himself,  or  the 
happiness  and  extraordinary  joy  he  experiences  during  his 
practice,  or  the  special  Mercy,  Grace  and  Protection  extended 
to  him  from  time  to  time  on  important  occasions  by  the  Supreme 
Father  and  Sant  Satguru. 

2.  One  fact  stands  out  clear  from  the  above  statement  of 
doctrine  that  the  guru  occupies  a  place  of  supreme  impor 
tance  in  the  sect.  He  is  the  centre  of  the  whole ;  for  he  is  not 
only  the  source  of  revelation  but  the  essential  means  of  salva- 


REFORM  CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD  FAITHS  163 

tion.  Thus  the  sect  ought  to  have  an  unbroken  succession  of 
gurus.  There  have  been  already  three,  and  a  fourth  is  now 
required.  The  following  facts  are  taken  from  a  book  by  the 
third  guru.1 

The  first  guru  was  an  Agra  banker  of  Kshatriya  caste,  born 
in  1818.  His  name  seems  to  have  been  Tulsi  Ram,  but  he  is 
better  known  as  Siva  Dayal  Saheb.  He  came  of  a  pious 
Vishnuite  family,  and  had  his  guru,  whose  name  was  Tulsi 
Saheb ;  yet,  according  to  the  sect,  he  did  not  learn  any  of  the 
deep  things  from  his  guru,  but  brought  his  divine  knowledge 
with  him  from  the  other  world.  He  is  said  to  have  had  the 
power  of  sending  people  into  samddhi,2  that  is,  a  sort  of  reli 
gious  trance,  and  of  enabling  them  to  see  visions.  He  pub 
licly  proclaimed  his  doctrine  in  1861.  He  left  two  books,  each 
named  Sdr  Bachan,  i.e.  "  Essential  Utterance,"  one  in  poetry 
and  one  in  prose.  He  died  in  1878.  His  ashes  lie  in  a  sacred 
tomb  in  the  Radha  Soami  Garden,  Agra.3  His  titles  are 
Rddhd  Soami  Dayal  and  Sodmijl  Mahdrdj. 

The  second  guru  was  born  in  Agra  in  1828,  in  a  family  of 
Kayastha  caste.  He  was  a  government  official,  serving  in 
the  Post  Office,  and  finally  rose  to  be  Postmaster-General  of 
the  United  Provinces,  and  received  from  Government  the 
title  Rai  Bahadur.  He  was  thus  known  as  Rai  Saligram 
Saheb  Bahadur.  Of  his  early  life  and  his  relations  with  the 
first  guru,  whom  he  met  in  1856,  Max  Miiller 4  writes : 

It  seems  that  the  horrors  of  the  mutiny  in  1857  made  a  deep 
impression  on  his  mind.  He  saw  thousands  of  men,  women, 
and  children  butchered  before  his  eyes,  the  rich  reduced  to 
poverty,  the  poor  raised  to  unexpected  and  undeserved  wealth, 
so  that  the  idea  of  the  world's  impermanent  and  transient 
nature  took  complete  possession  of  him  and  estranged  him  from 
all  that  had  formerly  enlisted  his  interest  and  occupied  his 

1  Discourses  on  Radha  Soami  Faith.  3  See  below,  p.  166. 

2  See  p.  189.  4  Ramakrishna,  20-1. 


164    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

energies.  From  his  very  youth,  however,  his  mind  had  been 
filled  with  religious  and  philosophical  questions,  and  he  is  said 
to  have  devoted  much  time  from  his  youth  onward  through  all 
the  years  of  his  official  life  to  the  study  of  the  Sacred  Scriptures. 
No  wonder  therefore  that  after  witnessing  the  horrors  of  the 
mutiny  and  its  suppression,  he  should  have  wished  to  flee 
from  this  den  of  misery  and  to  get  happiness  unalloyed  and 
permanent  where  alone  it  could  be  found.  He  went  to  consult 
several  Sannyasls  and  Yogis,  but  they  could  not  help  him. 
At  last  one  of  his  colleagues  at  the  Post  Office  recommended 
his  elder  brother  as  a  spiritual  guide  who  could  be  trusted. 
For  two  years  he  attended  his  lectures,  compared  his  teaching 
with  that  of  the  Upanishads  and  other  holy  writings,  and  then 
became  his  devoted  pupil  or  Chela.  During  his  stay  at  Agra 
he  allowed  no  one  else  to  serve  his  master.  He  used  to  grind 
the  flour  for  him,  cook  his  meals,  and  feed  him  with  his  own 
hands.  Every  morning  he  could  be  seen  carrying  a  pitcher  of 
pure  water  on  his  head  for  the  Guru  to  bathe  in,  which  he  fetched 
from  a  place  two  miles  distant.  His  monthly  salary  also  was 
handed  over  to  the  Saint,  who  used  it  for  the  support  of  his  pupils, 
wife  and  children,  and  spent  the  rest  in  charity. 

In  1878,  on  the  death  of  the  guru,  he  became  head  of  the  sect, 
and  retained  his  position  until  his  death  in  1898.  His  samadh, 
sacred  tomb,  is  at  Pipalmandi,  Agra.  He  left  behind  him 
several  works  in  poetry  called  PremaBani, "  Love  Utterances," 
zMPremaPatra, "  LoveLetters,"  and  a  little  manual  in  English 
called  Radhd  Soami  Mat  Prakash, "  Exposition  of  Radha  Soami 
Doctrine,"  from  which  our  exposition  of  the  teaching  of  the 
sect  is  taken.  He  also  wrote  several  small  treatises  in  Hindi 
and  Urdu.  It  seems  certain  that  the  sect  owes  a  great  deal  to 
this  man's  clear  intellect  and  power  of  expression.  The  first 
guru  may  have  been  the  source  of  the  leading  ideas  and  of  the 
religious  practice  of  the  sect ;  but  one  can  scarcely  doubt  that 
the  order  and  precision  which  now  mark  its  teaching  were  the 
fruit  of  Saligram's  vigorous  and  orderly  mind.  His  title  is 
Huzoor  Maharaj. 


REFORM  CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD  FAITHS  165 

The  third  gum  was  a  Brahman  of  Bengali  extraction,  named 
Brahma  Sankar  Misra.  He  was  born  in  Benares  in  1861, 
quite  near  the  place  where  Kablr  taught.  He  received  an 
English  education,  and  was  a  Master  of  Arts  of  Calcutta  Uni 
versity.  He  held  a  position  in  the  Accountant  General's 
Office,  Allahabad.  He  joined  the  Satsang  in  1885.  In  1898 
he  became  the  head  of  the  sect.  In  1902  he  came  to  the  con 
clusion  that  it  was  necessary,  for  the  health  of  the  Satsang, 
to  give  it  a  well-expressed  constitution  and  a  definite  organiza 
tion.  He  created  a  Central  Administrative  Council,  and  had 
a  Constitution  and  By-laws  drawn  up.  He  left  a  few  poems 
in  Hindi  and  he  wrote  two  brief  expositions  of  the  faith  for  the 
Census  Officers  of  the  Panjab  and  of  the  United  Provinces. 
When  he  died,  he  left,  in  manuscript,  a  volume  of  three  hun 
dred  pages,  called  Discourses  on  Radhdsoami  Faith,  which  con 
tains  much  more  sound  than  sense.  He  left  also  a  few  letters 
in  English  which  have  been  published  under  the  title  Solace 
to  Satsangis.  He  died  in  1907.  In  Benares,  where  he  died, 
they  have  purchased  a  famous  house  and  garden.  It  used  to 
be  called  Nandeshwar  Kothi,  and  at  the  close  of  the  eight 
eenth  century  it  was  used  as  the  residence  of  the  British  judge 
and  magistrate  of  Benares.  Here  in  1799  Mr.  Davis,  the 
judge,  was  attacked  by  a  body  of  native  troops,  who  had  just 
killed  the  British  Resident.  He  placed  himself  at  the  top  of  a 
narrow  staircase  leading  to  the  roof,  and  succeeded  in  defend 
ing  himself,  his  wife  and  two  children  with  a  spear,  until  he 
was  rescued  by  a  regiment  of  cavalry.  The  garden  is  now 
called  the  Radha  Soami  garden.  A  fine  building  has  been 
erected  in  it,  which  is  used  for  the  worship  of  the  sect.  It  is 
a  large  hall  with  a  gallery  and  a  raised  platform.  At  the  back 
of  the  platform  there  is  the  tomb  of  the  third  guru,  and  on  it 
there  hangs  his  photograph,  so  that  the  faithful  may  look 
upon  his  face  and  adore  him.  His  title  is  Maharaj  Saheb. 

Since  his  death  the  community  has  been  unable  to  agree 


1 66    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

as  to  who  is  to  be  the  next  guru.  Until  1913  there  were  two 
prominent  candidates,  Mr.  Sircar  Kamta  Prasad  of  Murai, 
near  Ghazipur,  and  Mr.  Madhava  Prasad  Saheb,  who  is  the 
Chief  Superintendent  in  the  Accountant-General's  Office, 
Allahabad.  The  former  died  hi  the  autumn  of  1913  ;  so  that 
Mr.  Madhava  Prasad  Saheb  has  now  a  far  better  chance  of 
being  chosen ;  but  there  are  groups  who  are  unwilling  to  follow 
him,  and  at  least  two  other  candidates. 

3.  Thus  far  we  have  relied  on  the  literature  published  by 
the  sect,  but  there  are  many  important  facts  which  do  not 
appear  in  the  official  books.  For  this  further  information  I  am 
indebted  to  members  of  the  sect  or  to  people  who  were  mem 
bers  but  are  no  longer  so. 

The  first  guru  was  a  man  who  had  had  no  Western  educa 
tion  and  did  not  know  English.  We  may  compare  him  with 
Ramakrishna.1  His  wife,  whose  real  name  I  have  not  dis 
covered,  was  a  woman  of  great  piety  and  goodness.  They 
acted  together  as  religious  teachers,  although  the  guru  was 
probably  the  greater  of  the  two.  There  was  no  organization, 
no  sect,  in  those  days.  Disciples  came  to  them  and  received 
instruction ;  and  the  photographs  of  both  the  man  and  his 
wife  were  given  them  to  contemplate  during  their  private 
meditations. 

The  guru  belonged  to  a  Vaishnava  family,  as  we  have  al 
ready  seen.  His  connections  were  with  the  Krishnaite  gurus  of 
Brindaban.  From  time  to  time  he  and  his  wife  dressed  up  as 
Krishna  and  Radha  to  receive  the  worship  of  their  disciples. 
The  second  guru  also  got  himself  up  as  Krishna  from  time 
to  time.  Thus  the  guru-worship  of  the  sect  was  probably 
borrowed  unchanged  from  the  practices  of  the  gurus  at  Brinda 
ban.  In  February,  1914, 1  was  able  to  visit  the  Radha  Soarni 
Bagh  (i.e.  Garden),  some  four  miles  outside  Agra,  where  the 
tomb,  samddh,  of  the  first  guru  is.  I  was  shown  over  the  prem- 
1  Below,  p.  188. 


PLATE    VII 


RADHA 
Wife  of  the  first  guru 


SOAMI 

The  first  guru 


4 


The  second  guru 


The  third  guru 


REFORM  CHECKED   BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD  FAITHS  167 

ises  by  Mr.  Tola  Ram,  who  was  educated  at  Roorki  and 
served  Government  as  a  civil  engineer  for  years,  but  has  now 
retired,  and  is  both  architect  and  builder  of  a  fine  new  marble 
structure  being  erected  over  the  samadh.  I  was  greatly  in 
terested  to  find  two  photographs  hanging  on  the  front  of  the 
samadh,  a  woman  and  a  man.  I  asked  my  guide  who  they 
represented.  He  answered  that  the  woman  was  Radha  and 
the  man  Soami,  and  then  explained  that  they  were  the  first 
guru  and  his  wife.  He  also  said  that  Radha  was  not  the 
woman's  real  name. 

So  far  as  my  information  goes,  it  was  the  second  guru,  Rai 
Saligram  Saheb  Bahadur,  guru  of  the  sect  from  1878-1898, 
who  organized  the  Satsang,  systematized  the  teaching  and 
gave  it  its  modern  character.     I  have  also  been  told  that  the 
sect  owes  its  name  to  him.     It  is  most  noteworthy  that  this 
extraordinary  name,  Radha  Soami,  bears  four  significations 
in  the  sect.     It  is  the  name  of  God  Himself ;  it  is  the  name 
which  the  first  guru  bears,  as  the  perfect  incarnation  of  God  ; 
it  is  the  sound  which  the  spiritual  sound-current  (Sabda)  makes 
as  it  rings  through  all  regions ;  and  it  is  the  name  of  the  sect. 
It  is  necessary  also  to  realize  that  the  real  meaning  of  Radha- 
svami  is  Krishna,  as  Lord  of  Radha  (his  cowherd  mistress 
in  the  latest  cycle  of  the  myth) ;   and  that  Soami  is  only  a 
curious  phonetic  misspell  for  Svaml.     How  comes  it  that  this 
name  stands  for  God  in  a  sect  which  rejects  the  whole  Hindu 
pantheon  ?    We  can  only  conjecture,  until  some  scholar  ex 
plores  the  Hindi  writings  of  the  first  guru ;  but  it  almost  seems 
as  if,  in  the  first  instance,  it  had  been  applied  to  the  first  guru 
and  his  wife,  as  they  shewed  themselves  to  their  disciples  in 
person  and  in  portrait,  and  as  they  still  appear  on  the  samadh, 
and  also  in  our  reproduction  of  their  portraits,1  and  had  then 
been  applied  to  God,  of  whom  the  guru  was  held  to  be  the 
full  and  perfect  revelation.    The  third  guru  quotes  a  Hindi 
1  Plate  VII,  facing  this  page. 


i68     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

couplet,  said  to  be  by  Kabir,  which  is  supposed,  by  transposi 
tion,  to  say  that  the  name  of  God  is  Radhasvaml ; 1  but  the 
couplet  is  clearly  a  forgery :  it  nowhere  occurs  among  the 
writings  of  Kabir,  published  or  unpublished ;  the  language 
is  of  a  later  date  than  Kabir ;  and  the  forger  was  a  bungler, 
for,  when  transposed  according  to  rule,  the  name  reads 
Arddhsvami,  and  not  Radhasvaml.2 

The  cosmogony  is  curiously  like  the  Buddhist  scheme, 
which  also  has  three  planes  or  worlds,  the  Formless  World,  the 
World  of  Form,  and  the  World  of  Desire,  each  sub-divided 
into  sections.  We  may  also  compare  the  Theosophic  scheme, 
which  sets  forth  reality  as  existing  in  seven  distinct  planes. 

Most  of  the  conceptions  of  the  sect  are  Hindu,  and  of  these 
the  majority  are  Vishnuite.  God,  the  World,  and  the  Soul 
are  recognized  as  realities ;  the  soul  is  an  amsa,  or  portion  of 
God ;  the  spirit-current  (Sabda) ,  which  streams  from  the  Su 
preme  and  is  the  source  of  all  things,  corresponds  to  the  sakti, 
or  energy  of  God,  in  the  Vaishnava  and  Saiva  systems.  Trans 
migration  is  retained.  The  doctrine  of  immortality  shews 
traces  of  the  Vaishnava  conception,  that  the  soul  retains  its 
personality  for  ever;  but  the  incarnation  doctrine  differs 
very  seriously  from  the  Vaishnava  idea ;  for  it  is  men  who 
become  incarnate  and  not  God  Himself. 

4.  The  practice  of  the  sect  is  summed  up  in  the  phrase 
Surat  Sabd  Yoga,  that  is,  union  (yoga)  of  the  human  soul  (surat) 
with  the  spirit-current  or  word  (Sabda).  The  methods  em 
ployed  are  unknown ;  for  they  are  imparted  by  the  guru  to 
the  disciple  under  a  vow  of  secrecy ;  but  it  is  clear  that  they 
are  occult  practices  of  a  hypnotic  nature  such  as  are  used  in 
Theosophy.  There  are  hints  in  the  literature  that  the  initiate 
sees  wonderful  lights  and  extraordinary  scenes,  and  wins 

1  Discourses  of  Radhasoami  Faith,  162. 

2 1  owe  this  criticism  to  my  friend  the  Rev.  Ahmad  Shah  of  Hamirpur, 
U.  P. 


REFORM  CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD  FAITHS  169 

supernatural  powers.  Instructions  about  the  practice  are 
given  partly  in  meetings  of  the  sect,  in  which  the  guru  delivers 
lectures,  partly  in  private,  when  he  receives  his  disciples  in 
dividually  or  in  small  groups.  The  guru  gives  his  photo 
graph  to  each  disciple,  that  he  may  have  it  before  him  during 
his  religious  practice.  The  prescribed  exercises  (sadhandni) 
ought  to  be  practised  from  two  to  three  hours  every  day. 
As  to  the  powers  of  the  Sant  Satguru  Dr.  Griswold  writes : 

The  incarnate  Sant  Satguru,  even  while  on  earth,  has  his 
citizenship  in  the  Radha  Soami  Dham  (realm).  He  is  not 
controlled  by  the  forces  and  currents  which  come  from  low 
levels  of  earthly  lives;  for,  "as  in  the  state  of  somnambulism, 
all  the  functions  of  the  body  and  senses  are  performed  from  a 
plane  higher  than  that  which  the  soul  occupies  in  the  wakeful 
state,  so  all  the  actions  of  the  incarnations  of  the  True  Creator 
are  regulated  by  the  currents  coming  direct  from  the  Supreme 
Being  himself."  The  Sant  Satguru  who  has  attained  to  the 
highest  stage  of  being  might  leave  the  body  at  any  time  and 
return  to  his  own  proper  sphere ;  but  he  stays  on  earth  a  cer 
tain  time  for  the  salvation  of  believers.  This  is  of  his  grace. 

We  are  told  in  the  books  that  the  sect  recognizes  no  temples, 
shrines  or  sacred  places,  except  those  sanctified  by  the  pres 
ence  of  the  guru  or  his  relics :  that  the  practice  of  the  sect 
can  be  carried  on  anywhere.  This  is  quite  true ;  for  the  ini 
tiate  can  sit  down,  with  the  photograph  of  his  guru  in  front  of 
him,  and  practise  his  meditations  and  his  exercises  wherever 
he  pleases,  so  long  as  he  does  it  in  secret.  But  for  their  meet 
ings  the  members  of  the  sect  prefer  to  have  their  own  buildings 
and  the  presence  of  either  the  living  guru  or  the  relics  of  one 
who  has  passed  away.  There  are  three  relic-shrines  already 
in  existence,  each  called  gurudwdra  (the  guru's  chamber),  two 
in  Agra  and  one  in  Benares.  Each  guru's  photograph  hangs 
on  his  tcmb. 

In  the  daily  meetings  of  the  sect  portions  of  their  own 


170     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

sacred  books  or  of  the  writings  of  Kabir  and  other  Hindu 
saints  are  read.  There  is  a  prayer,  hymn-singing  and  an  ad 
dress  by  the  guru,  if  he  is  present,  by  some  other  one,  if  he  is  not 
present.  Besides  these  common  practices,  there  is  the  adora 
tion  of  the  guru  or  of  his  portrait ; J  but  of  that  I  have  received 
no  detailed  description.  Several  things  are  clear,  however. 
We  are  told  in  the  books  that  each  member  brings  to  the  meet 
ing  with  him  a  wreath  of  flowers,  which  he  places  round  the 
neck  of  the  guru.  The  wreath  is  afterwards  returned  to  him, 
filled  with  the  spiritual  power  of  the  guru.  Everything  that 
has  touched  him  is  charged  with  his  sanctity  and  influence. 
All  relics  from  his  body,  such  as  clothing,  hair,  nail-parings  or 
water  in  which  he  has  washed  his  feet,  are  sacred  and  precious. 
There  are  some  very  disgusting  practices  connected  with  this 
idea,  certain  products  of  his  body  being  actually  eaten  or 
drunk  by  his  followers.  When  he  dies,  his  body  is  burnt; 
and  his  ashes,  mixed  with  water,  are  swallowed  by  the  faith 
ful.  The  place  where  he  resided  is  considered  holy ;  and  con 
templation  of  his  image  is  held  to  be  contemplation  of  the 
Supreme  Being. 

Radha  Soamis  are  taught  that  there  is  no  need  for  them  to 
give  up  their  life  as  householders  and  become  monks.2  In 
deed,  the  lives  of  the  three  gurus  themselves  show  what  is 
the  ideal.  Yet,  in  spite  of  this,  in  the  Constitution  of  the  Sat- 
sang  drawn  up  in  1902,  a  set  of  rules  is  given  for  the  enrolment 
and  conduct  of  Radha  Soami  monks.3 

There  is  one  side  of  Radha  Soami  influence  which  is  very 
curious,  their  want  of  touch  with  modern  movements.  The 
gurus  discourage  study.  The  members  shew  no  national 
feeling  whatsoever,  nor  any  serious  interest  in  the  life  of  the 
country.  If  any  member  were  to  accept  a  public  position  of 

1Cf.  the  Deva  Samaj,  p.  179  below,  and  Theosophy,  p.  261,  below. 

2  Radha  Soami  Mat  Prakdsh,  51. 

3  Discourses  of  Radhasoami  Faith,  329. 


REFORM  CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD  FAITHS  171 

any  prominence,  he  would  be  looked  down  upon.  Economic, 
literary  or  educational  progress  is  no  part  of  the  ideal  of  the 
sect.  This  neglect  of  public  affairs  is  what  takes  the  place 
of  the  old  ascetic  renunciation. 

5.  The  points  that  attract  new  members  seem  to  be,  first  of 
all,  the  secrecy  of  the  religious  practice  of  the  sect,  with 
the  hope  connected  therewith  of  gaining  supernatural  wisdom, 
enlightenment  and  power.     The  living  guru,  believed  to  be 
an  incarnation  of  God  in  the  fullest  possible  sense,  is  a  distinct 
attraction.     Within  the  meetings  of  the  sect  there  is  a  good 
deal  of  freedom.     Men  of  all  castes  mix  freely  together,  and 
even  on  occasion,  dine  together  in  secret ;  and  there  is  no  strict 
separation  of  men  and  women.    There  is  thus  a  sort  of  free 
happy  fellowship  within  each  group  of  Satsangis,  as  they  call 
themselves.     Finally,  membership  in  the  sect  does  not  in 
volve  any  breach  with  one's  own  religion.    The  fact  that  a 
man  is  a  member  of  the  sect  is  often  kept  secret.     As  in  The- 
osophy,  you  may  be  a  Radha  Soami  and  yet  remain  a  Hindu, 
a  Muhammadan  or  a  Christian.     People  are  taught  that  all 
religions  are  true,  and  that  the  Radha  Soami  faith  is  an  extra, 
fit  to  be  the  complement  of  any  religion,  and  supreme  over 
them  all.     Membership  is  thus  made  quite  easy.     Yet  it  is 
definitely  stated  that  the  religion  is  for  all,  and  that  outside 
the  Satsang  there  is  no  salvation. 

There  is  no  proselytism  in  the  sect,  except  in  so  far  as  the 
individual  member  may  express  his  high  appreciation  of  the 
guru  to  his  personal  friends.  One  Satsangi  tried  to  make  me 
realize  how  many  miracles  had  accompanied  the  gurus  through 
out  their  lives.  They  teach  only  people  who  wish  to  be  taught ; 
and  they  would  rather  win  a  few  intelligent  men  than  crowds 
of  common  people. 

6.  The  affinities  of  the  theology  of  the  sect  stand  out  quite 
clear.     Most  of  the  teaching  is  purely  Hindu  ;  it  stands  nearer 
to  Vaishnavism  than  to  any  other  part  of  Hinduism,  and  is 


172     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

perhaps  most  closely  allied  to  the  teaching  of  Kabir.  This  is 
reflected  in  the  practice  of  the  sect.  While  they  profess  to 
find  all  truth  in  the  books  of  their  own  gurus,  they  do  use  the 
writings  of  certain  Hindu  and  Muhammadan  saints,  and 
amongst  these  they  give  Kablr  the  highest  place.  But,  though 
the  system  is  in  the  main  Hindu  and  old,  there  are  modern 
elements.  There  is  an  attempt  to  place  religious  leaders  in 
the  various  spheres  of  the  universe,  according  to  their  merit ; 
and  there  are  a  number  of  Christian  elements  in  the  teaching. 
The  unknown  Supreme  is  constantly  called  the  Heavenly 
Father;  His  will  is  frequently  emphasized;  and  Satsangis 
are  taught  to  seek  His  approbation.  The  Sant  Satguru,  who 
alone  can  reveal  Him,  is  called  His  beloved  Son.  God  created 
man  in  His  own  image.  Love  is  emphasized  in  the  teaching 
of  the  sect  in  such  a  way  as  clearly  to  reveal  its  Christian 
origin;  for  it  goes  far  beyond  the  old  ideas  connected  with 
bhakti.  Works  of  faith  and  charity,  the  spirit  of  service  and 
prayer,  are  laid  down  as  necessary  duties.  Finally,  the  forms 
of  worship  in  the  regular  services,  apart  from  the  adoration 
of  the  guru,  are  Christian. 

In  this  connection,  however,  nothing  is  more  noteworthy 
than  the  many  points  in  which  Radha  Soami  and  Theosophi- 
cal  doctrine  and  practice  coincide.  The  most  important 
items  are :  the  unknowable  Supreme,  the  spheres  and  their 
regents,  the  human  revealers  of  religion,  the  emphasis  on  the 
Word,  reincarnation,  the  use  of  methodical  exercises  (sadh- 
andni)  of  a  hypnotic  character  for  the  development  of  the 
spiritual  powers  and  of  the  photograph1  of  the  guru  in  med 
itation,  the  worship  of  gurus,  the  supernatural  powers  of  the 
gurus,  the  claim  that  the  teaching  of  the  sect  is  scientifically 
accurate  and  verifiable  in  every  particular,  esoteric  teaching, 
secret  practice,  and  all  the  talk  about  astral  and  higher 
planes,  adepts  and  such  like. 

1  See  above,  pp.  169,  170;   below,  p.  261. 


REFORM  CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD  FAITHS  173 

LITERATURE.  —  Rddhd  Soami  Mat  Prakash,  by  Rai  Salig  Ram 
Bahadur,  Benares,  1896,  for  private  circulation,  10  annas. 
(This  is  by  far  the  best  presentation  of  Radha  Soami  Doctrine  in 
English.)  Discourses  of  Radhasoami  Faith,  by  Pandit  Brahm  Sankar 
Misra,  Benares,  The  Satsang,  1909.  This  very  verbose  volume 
has  a  Prefatory  Note  which  contains  details  about  the  three  gurus. 
For  the  other  works  of  the  gurus,  see  above,  pp.  114,  115,  116.  The 
Radha  Swami  Sect,  by  the  Rev.  H.  D.  Griswold,  Ph.  D.,  Cawnpore 
Mission  Press. 

10.  THE  DEVA  SAMAJ 

i .  Siva  Narayana  Agnihotri  was  born  in  a  Kanauji  Brah 
man  family  in  1850,  in  a  small  town  in  the  Cawnpore  district 
of  the  United  Provinces.  When  he  was  sixteen,  he  entered  the 
Government  Engineering  College  at  Rurki,  and  got  the  degree 
of  Overseer  after  some  years  of  study  and  service  there.  Be 
fore  the  close  of  his  course,  he  came  greatly  under  the  religious 
influence  of  the  Curator  of  the  Instrument  Depot  of  the  Col 
lege,  and  through  him  became  convinced  of  the  truth  of  the 
Vedanta  philosophy  as  taught  by  Sankaracharya,  namely, 
that  God  is  impersonal,  and  that  the  human  spirit  is  God. 
In  1871,  while  he  was  acting  as  a  master  in  the  College,  both 
he  and  his  wife  underwent  a  ceremony  of  initiation  and  be 
came  disciples  of  the  Curator-guru.  He  also  began  to  see 
clearly  the  need  of  religious  and  social  reform.  Hence  he  ban 
ished  idolatry  from  his  household  and  set  his  wife  free  from 
the  restrictions  of  the  zenana. 

In  1873,  now  23  years  of  age,  he  was  appointed  Drawing- 
master  in  the  Government  School,  Lahore ;  and  in  that  city  he 
has  lived  ever  since.  Here  he  at  once  came  under  the  influ 
ence  of  the  Brahma  Samaj,  with  its  doctrine  that  God  is  essen 
tially  personal.  Both  he  and  his  capable  wife  became  active 
Brahma  workers.  In  1875  he  was  appointed  honorary  minis 
ter  of  the  Lahore  Samaj,  and  soon  became  well  known  in  the 
city  as  a  man  of  character  and  a  good  speaker.  Wherever 


174     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

he  went,  large  audiences  gathered  to  hear  him.  The  Arya 
Samaj  was  planted  in  Lahore  in  1877,  as  we  have  already 
seen,  and  very  soon  rose  to  great  influence.  The  following 
year,  Agnihotri  began  a  long-continued  crusade  against  its 
false  pretences  about  the  Veda.  In  January,  1880,  he  attended 
the  anniversary  meetings  of  the  recently  founded  Sadharan 
Brahma  Samaj  in  Calcutta ; 1  and  he  and  three  others  were 
ordained  as  the  first  missionaries  of  the  movement.2  For  two 
years  longer  he  gave  all  his  leisure  to  work  for  the  Lahore 
Samaj ;  but  in  1882  he  gave  up  the  post  of  Drawing-master 
in  the  Government  School,  in  order  that  his  full  time  might  be 
devoted  to  missionary  labour.  We  are  also  informed  in  the 
recent  literature  of  the  Samaj  that  on  his  birthday,  the  2oth 
of  December  of  the  same  year,  he  took  his  great  vow,  ex 
pressed  in  a  Hindi  couplet,  the  translation  of  which  runs : 

The  supreme  object  of  my  Life  is  to  serve  the  world  by 
establishing  the  kingdom  of  Truth  and  Goodness  on  this  earth 
and  by  destroying  what  is  opposed  to  them ;  may  I  spend  my 
whole  life  for  the  fulfilment  of  this  supreme  object ! 

In  any  case  his  full  powers  now  began  to  make  themselves 
manifest.  He  proved  effective  as  a  writer  as  well  as  a  speaker. 
Books,  pamphlets  and  tracts  poured  from  the  press.  For  a 
little  time  a  sort  of  simple  copy  of  the  Salvation  Army,  called 
the  Brahma  Sena  or  Brahma  Army,  was  used  as  an  auxiliary. 
He  made  his  influence  felt  in  every  section  of  public  life  in 
Lahore.  But  it  was  not  long  before  difficulties  arose  within 
the  Samaj.  His  methods  displeased  the  quieter  members; 
and  his  forceful  will  and  autocratic  temper  led  to  constant 
friction  with  the  other  leaders.  He  wanted  to  rule.  He  would 
often  be  heard  to  say,  "I  am  born  to  command  not  to  obey." 
Most  of  the  members  were  apprehensive  that  he  would  soon 
set  up  as  the  authoritative  guru  of  the  Samaj.  The  way  his 
followers  now  express  this  is:  "His  life-mission  was  unique 
i  P.  55,  above.  2  BBS.,  II,  H4- 


REFORM  CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD  FAITHS  175 

and  quite  different  from  the  object  of  the  Brahmo  Samaj." 
A  split  became  inevitable. 

2.  Accordingly,  he  seceded  from  the  Brahma  Samaj,  taking 
with  him  a  fair  number  of  followers,  and  organized,  on  the 
Queen's  Jubilee  day,1  February  i6th,  1887,  a  new  society  to 
be  known  as  the  Deva  Samaj.     The  name  was  clearly  chosen 
in  order  to  distinguish  the  new  society  from  the  old,  and  yet 
to  indicate  its  close  relationship  to  it.     Brahma  is  an  adjective 
formed  from  the  word  Brahman,  the  name  of  the  supreme  God 
of  the  Upanishads.     Deva  is  the  ordinary  Sanskrit  word  for 
one  of  the  innumerable  gods  of  the  Hindu  pantheon,  but  is 
probably  used  in  the  name  of  the  society  as  an  adjective.     So 
that  the  whole  name  means  the  Divine  Society.    A  creed  was 
soon  issued,  which  showed  that  the  aims  and  beliefs  of  the  new 
community  were  very  similar  to  those  of  the  Brahma  Samaj ; 
yet  there  were  significant  differences.     The  Deva  Dharma, 
the  divine  religion  of  the  divine  society,  is  a  special  divine 
dispensation,2  and  so  is  distinct  from  the  Brahma  Dharma. 
The  doctrines  are  Brahma  doctrines;   yet  the  beginnings  of 
a  guru-doctrine  are  perceptible ;  and,  within  a  few  years,  the 
leader  could  say  of  himself,  "My  mission  is  unique" ;  "I  am 
free  from  sin"  ; 3  and  "I  am  a  ship  of  hope  and  a  leaven  for 
elevating  nations."    The  work  of  the  Samaj  ran  along  the 
usual  lines:  only  Agnihotri  dabbled  in  spiritualism. 

In  1893  he  became  involved  in  a  libel  case  which,  dragging 
on  for  five  long  years,  greatly  hindered  the  work  of  the  Samaj. 
During  this  period  Agnihotri's  mind  underwent  a  very  serious 
change ;  and  at  its  close  a  new  period  opens. 

3.  From  1898  down  to  the  present  day  the  Deva  Samaj  has 
been  an  atheistic  society,  working  for  educational  and  moral 
ends.     Yet  the  members  attribute  to  the  guru  such  a  supreme 
place  in  human  evolution  and  give  him  such  a  position  in  their 

1  As  celebrated  in  India.  2  Cf.  Keshab's  idea,  above,  p.  55. 

3  Dharma  Jivan,  4th  October,  1892. 


1 76     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

own  minds  and  devotional  practice  that  we  are  fully  justified 
in  saying  that,  practically,  he  is  regarded  and  worshipped  as  a 
god.  Indeed,  they  call  him  sattya  deva,  a  real  god.1  The  lit 
erature  of  the  earlier  period  was  at  once  withdrawn  from  cir 
culation  as  far  as  possible ;  a  new  creed,  quite  different  from 
the  previous  one  was  promulgated;  and,  for  several  years, 
there  was  no  public  preaching  or  disputation.  The  literature 
of  the  sect  is  now  sold  publicly  and  many  of  the  meetings  are 
public ;  but  the  devotional  meetings  and  the  worship  of  the 
guru  are  held  in  private.  The  chief  book  of  the  Samaj  is  called 
the  Deva  Sdstra,  or  Divine  Scripture,  and  the  teaching,  Deva 
Dharma,  or  Divine  Religion. 

4.  The  teaching  of  the  sect  is  that  the  universe  consists  of 
matter  and  force,  which  are  uncreated  and  indestructible, 
and  which  manifest  themselves  in  four  forms,  inorganic,  vege 
table,  animal,  human.  Man's  life  or  soul  is  the  builder  of 
his  body,  the  most  essential  part  of  his  existence.  The  soul 
develops  if  it  possess  the  necessary  capacity  and  unite  with  the 
right  evolutionary  environment ;  but  if  it  lacks  the  capacity 
or  fails  to  grasp  the  environment,  it  degenerates ;  and  if  de 
generation  is  not  checked,  it  will  become  extinct.  A  soul  that 
rises  to  the  Complete  Higher  Life  is  thereby  raised  above  the 
danger  of  degeneration  and  extinction.  The  soul  then  sur 
vives  in  the  form  of  a  refined  human  body. 

Good  action  leads  to  development,  evil  action  to  degenera 
tion.  When  a  man  reaches  a  certain  height  of  development, 
he  is  entirely  beyond  the  danger  of  degeneration  and  dissolu 
tion.  In  order  to  reach  this  higher  life,  it  is  necessary  to  unite 
with  one  who  has  already  risen  to  these  heights.  The  guru 
of  the  Deva  Samaj  has  risen  to  the  highest  possible  heights, 
and  thus  is  the  true  environment  for  souls  eager  for  progress. 
He  is  an  unprecedented  manifestation  of  the  powers  of  the 
highest  life. 

1  He  is  so  called  in  a  letter  sent  me  by  the  Secretary  of  the  Samaj. 


PLATE   VIII 


MAHAMANANIYA  PUJANIYA  SRI  DEVA  GURU  BHAGAVAN 
Pandit  S.  N.  Agnihotri 


REFORM  CHECKED   BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD   FAITHS  177 

Since  matter  and  force  are  the  only  reality  that  exists, 
there  is  no  such  thing  as  God  or  gods.  Every  conception  of 
God  that  has  been  held  among  men  is  purely  imaginative, 
and  consequently  harmful. 

The  teaching  about  the  guru  himself  is  the  key  to  the  whole 
life  of  the  sect.  He  is  the  highest  result  of  the  evolution  of 
the  universe.  He  has  evolved  the  highest  powers  that  any 
being  on  this  earth  has  ever  had.  Nay,  he  possesses  in  his 
soul  all  the  powers  of  the  Complete  Higher  Life  and  is  its 
highest  ideal.  Hence  many  of  the  titles  used  of  Hindu  gods 
are  conferred  upon  him.  He  is  Mahamananiya  Pujaniya  Sri 
Deva  Guru  Bhagavan  (the  Most  Reverend,  Most  Worshipful, 
Most  Exalted,  Divine  Teacher  and  Blessed  Lord).  Since  he 
became  the  god  of  the  Samaj,  he  has  tended  to  withdraw  into 
seclusion.  He  no  longer  figures  in  the  public  life  of  Lahore. 
He  seldom  instructs  any  one  except  his  own  disciples,  very 
seldom  gives  outsiders  interviews,  and  delivers  addresses  only 
in  meetings  of  the  Samaj.  Much  is  made  of  the  vow  he  is 
said  to  have  taken  in  1882.  Much  is  also  made  of  his 
sacrifices. 

The  guru  teaches  and  practises  spiritualism.  Being  the 
summit  of  all  evolution,  he  possesses  powers  whereby  he  is 
able  to  see  into  the  other  world,  and  to  have  personal  deal 
ings,  through  mediums,  with  souls  there.  He  states  that  many 
of  his  own  dead  relatives  have  become  convinced  of  the  truth 
of  his  teaching,  and  have  found  salvation  through  him.  He 
delivers  addresses  to  spirits  who  assemble  from  time  to  time 
to  hear  him  at  the  Samaj  building. 

Transmigration  is  denied.  This  is  one  of  the  elements 
of  Brahma  teaching  which  have  been  carried  over  into  the  new 
period. 

5.  Those  who  wish  to  become  members  of  the  Samaj  have 
to  take  the  following  ten  vows.1 

1  A  Dialogue  about  the  Deva  Samaj,  14-16. 

N 


I  y8     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

1.  I  shall  not  commit  the  following  four  sins  relating  to  m> 
profession  or  calling :  — 

(a)  I  shall  not  take  bribe. 

(b)  I  shall  not  weigh  or  measure  anything  more  or  less, 
with  a  motive  of  cheating  some  one. 

(c)  I  shall  not  substitute  one  thing  for  another  with  a  view 
to  cheating  some  one. 

(d)  When  certain  remuneration  for  a  certain  work  or  price 
of  a  thing  has  been  agreed  upon,  I  shall  not  dishonestly  pay  less 
or  take  more  than  is  due  according  to  the  agreement. 

2.  I  shall  not  commit  theft. 

3.  I  shall  not  withhold  anything  borrowed  by  or  entrusted 
to  me. 

4.  I  shall  not  rob  any  person  of  his  money,  land  or  any  other 
article  by  force  or  fraud. 

5.  I  shall  not  gamble  or  do  any  act  which  involves  loss  or 
gain  of  money  or  property  through  betting. 

6.  I  shall  not  lead  a  useless  life  when  I  am  able  to  do  some 
work. 

7.  I  shall  not  commit  adultery,  polygamy,  or  any  unnatural 


crime. 


8.  I  shall  not  use,  prepare,  cultivate,  buy  or  sell,  or  give  to 
any  person  any  intoxicant  such  as  Wine,  Opium,  Bhang,  To 
bacco,  Charas,  Chandoo,  Cocaine,  etc.,  for  the  purpose  of  in 
toxication. 

9.  I   shall  not  eat   flesh   or  eggs  myself,  or   give  or   direct 
others  to  eat  flesh  or  eggs  or  anything  made  thereof. 

10.  I  shall  not  kill  any  sentient  being,  barring  certain  right 
occasions. 

When  any  one  wants  to  become  a  member  of  the  Samaj,  he 
writes  a  letter  to  the  guru,  putting  into  it  a  catalogue  of  all 
his  past  sins,  telling  how  he  has  been  brought  to  a  better 


REFORM  CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD  FAITHS  179 

mind  by  the  guru,  and  promising  to  give  them  up.  From  time 
to  time  thereafter  he  writes  in  a  similar  strain.  All  these 
documents  the  guru  preserves  most  carefully.1 

6.  The  guru  is  seldom  present  at  the  regular  devotional 
meetings  of  the  Samaj,  but  his  photograph  hangs  before  the 
congregation.    An  image  would  be  used;    but  hitherto  the 
cost  has  stood  in  the  way.    When  the  people  have  assembled, 
all  stand  up,  and  the  conductor  offers  a  tray  of  flowers  to 
the  portrait,2  or  hangs  a  garland  round  it.    All  then  bend 
low  in  adoration.    The  stotra,  a  Sanskrit  hymn  in  praise 
of  the  guru,  is  then  sung  by  all,  and  a  Hindi  translation  is 
read  by  the  conductor.     All  then  prostrate  themselves  before 
the  portrait.     When  all  are   seated,  the   conductor  offers 
prayer  to  the  guru.     Then  a  hymn  is  sung.     This  is  often 
followed  by  a  sermon,  or  a  meditation  on  the  virtues  of  the 
guru,  and  another  hymn ;  or  a  passage  is  read  from  the  Deva 
Sastra.    The  conductor  or  some  other  one  then  closes  the 
meeting  with  another  prayer.    The  burning  of  incense  and 
the  waving  of  lights  (drati)  before  the  portrait  were  originally 
parts  of  the  service,  but  they  have  been  discontinued.     When 
the  guru  himself  is  present,  the  service  centres  in  him ;  and 
when  members  call  on  him,  they  prostrate  themselves  at  his 
feet.     His  birthday  is  the  anniversary  of  the  Samaj. 

7.  The  methods  of  the  Samaj  are  practically  all  Christian. 
Many  of  them  the  guru  brought  with  him  from  the  Brahma 
Samaj;    the  rest  have  been  copied  direct  from  Christian 
missions.    The  Samaj  has  missionaries,  and  also  lay-workers, 
both  men  and  women.    They  have  two  High  Schools,  a  num 
ber  of  Primary  Schools,  a  School  for  the  Depressed  Classes, 
and  a  Training  College  for  mission  workers,  called  the  Bikdsh- 
dlai,  or  House  of  Development.    A  good  deal  of  attention 
is  given  to  female  education.    They  have  a  successful  Board- 

1  Cf.  p.  182,  below. 

*  Cf.  the  Radha  Soamis,  p.  169  f.,  above,  and  Theosophy,  p.  261,  below. 


iSo     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

ing  School  for  Girls  at  Firozepore,  teaching  up  to  the  Matricu 
lation  Standard.  They  do  a  little  medical  work,  have  two 
Widows'  Homes,  and  have  held  Industrial  Exhibitions.  They 
lay  a  good  deal  of  stress  on  social  reform,  as  we  have  already 
seen,  and  endeavour  to  do  a  little  social  service.  They  have  a 
Temperance  League  and  a  Vegetarian  League.1 

Literature  is  much  used  in  spreading  the  teaching  of  the 
Samaj.  The  guru's  chief  work  is  a  Hindi  book,  the  Deva 
Sastra,  i.e.,  the  Divine  Scripture,  which,  he  believes,  is  destined 
to  eclipse  all  the  sacred  books  of  the  world.  The  portrait 
of  the  guru  which  forms  the  frontispiece  of  the  Deva  Sastra  is 
reproduced  in  the  plate  facing  page  126.  There  are  a  few 
more  books  of  some  size  in  Hindi  which  expound  the  principles 
of  their  doctrine ;  and  there  are  a  great  many  pamphlets  in 
Hindi,  Urdu,  Sindhi  and  English.  A  series  of  schoolbooks  in 
Hindi  has  been  published.  Four  journals  are  published  :  an 
English  monthly,  called  the  Science-Grounded  Religion,  an 
Anglo-Sindhl  monthly,  called  the  Sindh-Upakdrak,  an  Urdu 
fortnightly,  called  Jiwan  Tattva,  and  a  Hindi  monthly,  called 
the  Sewak,  which  is  meant  only  for  those  belonging  to  the 
Samaj. 

The  Reports  read  at  the  Anniversary  Meetings  tell  of  steady 
expansion.2  Lahore  and  Firozepore  are  the  two  chief  centres 
of  the  work ;  but  members  from  Sindh,  Baluchistan,  the  N. 
W.  Frontier  Province  and  the  United  Provinces  attend  the 
annual  meetings. 

8.  The  sources  and  connections  of  the  system  stand  out 
quite  clear.  The  scientific  elements  are  fairly  prominent: 
the  conceptions  of  life,  seed,  soil,  growth,  evolution,  progress, 
degeneration,  extinction,  are  scattered  throughout  the  litera 
ture.  Originally,  the  guru  seems  to  have  been  considerably 
influenced  by  Drummond's  Natural  Law  in  the  Spiritual 

1  All  this  may  be  found  in  the  Dialogue  about  the  Deva  Samaj. 
2 ISR.,  XX,  258;  XXI,  207,  257;  XXIII,  235. 


REFORM  CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD  FAITHS  181 

World;  but  his  later  thought  is  drawn  mainly  from  Spencer. 
Hinduism  shews  itself  in  the  Samaj  in  the  beliefs  about  the 
guru  and  in  the  worship,  and  lingers  on  in  the  practice  of  caste, 
though  transmigration  has  been  expelled,  and  in  the  stress 
laid  on  vegetarianism  and  on  the  preservation  of  animal  life. 
The  influence  of  Christianity  is  visible  throughout,  chiefly 
in  the  vigorous  moral  sense  which  characterizes  the  doctrine 
of  salvation,  and  in  the  claim  made  in  every  report,  that  nu 
merous  individuals  have  been  saved  from  various  forms  of 
vice  by  the  teaching  of  the  Samaj ; 1  also  in  the  rejection  of 
transmigration,  in  the  demand  for  social  reform,  and  in  the 
practical  methods  employed.  The  religious  atheism  of  the 
Samaj  reminds  one  of  Comtism,  but  the  position  of  the  guru 
is  distinctly  Hindu.  Curiously  enough,  his  doctrine  of  con 
ditional  immortality  is  not  unlike  that  preached  by  the  Rev. 
Edward  White  in  London,  shortly  before  the  rise  of  the  Deva 
Samaj. 

9.  All  went  fairly  well  with  the  Samaj  until  1913,  when  the 
guru  took  two  measures  which  have  raised  a  storm.  He 
appointed  his  own  second  son,  Devanand,  who  keeps  an  ath 
letic  store  in  Lahore,  to  succeed  him.  Naturally,  Dev  Ratan, 
who  has  been  associated  with  him  for  twenty-four  years,  and 
for  many  years  has  been  his  right  hand,  did  not  think  this 
quite  the  right  appointment.  In  the  second  place  he  pub 
lished  a  book,  called  Bignan-Mulak  Tattva  Siksha,  in  which 
he  declared  himself  the  perfect  ideal,  the  perfect  object  of 
worship,  the  perfect  giver  of  life,  perfection  and  salvation  for 
all  mankind.  No  one  has  been  equal  to  him  in  the  past ;  no 
one  will  ever  equal  him  in  the  future.  The  worship  of  all 
other  beings,  whether  imaginary  gods  and  goddesses  or  real 
men,  should  be  abandoned  as  harmful. 

The  consequence  is  that  Dev  Ratan,  the  one  considerable 

1  See,  for  example,  the  Dialogue,  19.  Cf.  Madame  Blavatsky's  boasts, 
below,  p.  438. 


182     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

man  in  the  movement  after  the  guru,  has  seceded  from  the 
Samaj ;  and  one  of  the  sons  of  the  guru,  his  brother-in-law,  his 
sister-in-law,  two  graduates  and  some  others  have  come  out 
with  him.  The  bulk  of  the  members  have,  however,  remained. 
The  seceders  have  formed  The  Society  for  the  Promotion  of 
Higher  Life.  Their  position  is  the  old  teaching  without  the 
guru.  Meantime  the  guru  has  published  the  letters  of  confes 
sion  1  written  to  him  by  Dev  Ratan  in  former  years,  and  seeks 
to  show  from  them  what  a  bad  man  he  is ;  —  a  proceeding 
which  suggests  many  thoughts.  What  the  outcome  of  all 
this  will  be  no  one  can  tell. 

LITERATURE.  —  OFFICIAL  :  Devasastra,  by  S.  N.  Agnihotri, 
Lahore,  Jivan  Press,  Rs.  5.  (The  chief  scripture  of  the  Samaj; 
in  Hindi.)  Dev  Dharm,  Lahore,  Deva  Samaj  Office,  price  i£  as. 
(An  account  of  the  teaching  of  the  sect,  in  English,  in  fifty  pages.) 
A  Dialogue  about  the  Dev  Samaj,  Lahore,  The  Jivan  Press,  1912, 
i  an.  (A  brief  account  of  the  Samaj  and  its  work.)  CRITICAL  : 
Pandit  Agnihotri  and  the  Deva  Samaj,  by  Dr.  H.  D.  Griswold,  Lahore, 
1906.  (A  clear  account  of  the  Samaj.)  A  Lecture  on  Pandit  S.  N. 
Agnihotri  and  His  Atheistic  Propaganda,  by  Kashi  Ram,  Lahore, 
N.  W.  Indian  Press,  1908. 

ii.  Two  MINOR  GURUS 

Two  young  Hindus,  belonging  to  our  own  day,  the  one  a 
Telugu,  the  other  a  Tamil,  have  each  sketched  a  system  and 
gathered  a  few  disciples.  Both  have  been  deeply  influenced  by 
Christ ;  yet,  the  main  teaching  of  each  is  Hindu ;  and  they 
both  wish  to  be  worshipped  as  gurus.  They  are  of  no  im 
portance  as  leaders,  but  their  teaching  may  be  worth  notice 
as  further  evidence  of  the  character  of  Indian  thought  to-day. 

i.  The  Telugu  guru 2  is  not  quite  ready  yet  to  appear  in 
public  to  expound  his  system.  His  thought,  as  it  at  present 
exists  in  his  mind,  seems  to  be  fundamentally  Hindu,  but  with 

1  P.  178,  above. 

2  My  informant  is  one  of  his  disciples,  whom  I  met  in  Madras. 


REFORM  CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD  FAITHS  183 

a  good  deal  of  Christianity  worked  into  it.  He  declares  that 
his  system  is  for  all  men,  and  that  he  selects  what  is  good 
from  all  religions. 

At  present  he  seems  to  be  a  pantheist.  The  whole  world 
is  God,  and  we  are  part  of  God.  God  is  not  a  Spirit.  God  is 
not  Sat,  Chit,  Ananda,  except  in  so  far  as  the  universe  deserves 
these  titles.  God  is  non-moral.  He  has  no  will.  He  does 
not  act.  He  does  not  listen  to  prayer,  and  does  not  receive 
sacrifice.  God  does  not  answer  prayer :  prayer  automatically 
answers  itself. 

He  condemns  idolatry  entirely. 

He  finds  all  metaphysics  in  the  Rigveda.  He  acknowledges 
that  Hindu  mythology  is  absurd,  and  explains  Brahma  as 
sthula,  i.e.,  the  material  world,  Vishnu  as  antahkarana,  i.e. 
man's  inner  faculties,  and  Siva  as  the  first  cause.  He  asserts 
that  there  is  no  mythology  in  the  Rigveda.  He  is  writing  a 
Commentary  on  it.  In  his  attitude  to  the  Rik  he  stands  very 
near  Dayananda. 

He  bids  his  followers  concentrate  the  mind  on  certain  words 
or  phrases  from  the  Rigveda  (e.g.  the  Gayatri,  the  most  famous 
of  Hindu  prayers),  because  he  holds  they  are  instinct  with 
meaning.  They  are  to  concentrate  the  mind  on  that,  until 
only  one  thought  remains.  He  believes  in  the  power  of  Yoga 
methods,  but  says  they  are  dangerous. 

He  calls  Sarikara  and  Buddha  great  philosophers.  He  has 
not  much  respect  for  Muhammad.  He  acknowledges  that  the 
Gitd  is  not  an  utterance  of  Krishna. 

He  says  the  world  is  eternal.  He  does  not  believe  in  the 
re-creation  and  destruction  of  the  world.  He  believes  in 
karma  and  transmigration ;  but  he  does  not  seek  deliverance 
himself  at  all ;  nor  does  he  admire  men  who  seek  deliverance. 
He  desires  rebirth,  in  order  to  work  for  the  good  of  humanity. 
This  is  curiously  like  the  attitude  ascribed  to  the  Bodhisattvas 
in  Mahayana  Buddhism. 


1 84     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

Moral  law  is  made  by  man.  What  is  best  for  society  is 
moral.  In  moral  action  he  would  advise  us  to  copy  Jesus. 
He  holds  that  the  life  of  Jesus  was  entirely  given  up  to  doing 
good ;  and  he  says  that  He  died  for  men.  He  also  declares 
that  Jesus  is  now  a  living  angel,  who  can  answer  the  prayers 
of  Christians. 

He  urges  his  followers  above  all  things  else  to  philanthropic 
action.  He  also  urges  them  to  prayer  and  moral  action.  He 
insists  on  moral  asceticism. 

He  is  a  Brahman;  yet  he  eats  with  Christians  in  secret. 
He  is  in  favour  of  mixed  marriages,  even  between  people  of 
different  races.  He  is  anxious  to  make  Brahmans  less  con 
servative;  but,  as  he  has  not  yet  appeared  publicly  as  a 
teacher,  he  conceals  his  anti-caste  tendencies.  He  is  op 
posed  to  polygamy,  but  is  not  in  favour  of  widow-remarriage, 
nor  in  favour  of  marrying  girls  after  puberty.  The  age  of 
the  marriage  of  men  ought  to  be  raised.  He  is  a  married  man 
with  a  family.  He  lays  no  stress  on  the  monastic  life,  but 
makes  working  for  humanity  the  prime  thing. 

Though  he  has  not  proclaimed  himself  a  public  teacher  as 
yet,  he  has  gathered  a  number  of  friends  around  him  and 
formed  a  sort  of  society.  Weekly  or  fortnightly  a  meeting 
is  held.  He  presides ;  some  one  reads  a  paper  in  Sanskrit, 
and  he  comments  on  it. 

The  disciples  consider  him  worthy  of  divine  honour.  Each 
bows  down  individually  to  him. 

2.  The  young  Tamil  has  been  rash  enough  to  publish  a 
little  book  to  explain  his  position.  It  is  simply  a  rhetorical 
exercise,  containing  no  systematic  thinking.  The  elements 
contained  in  it  are  drawn  mainly  from  the  Saiva  Siddhanta 
and  from  Christianity,  but  Vaishnavism  is  not  quite  neglected. 
The  Christian  elements  are  distinctly  subordinate  to  the  Hindu , 
and  the  need  of  the  guru  is  one  of  the  most  prominent  points. 
He  describes,  in  a  mystical  way,  his  own  meeting  with  his  guru, 


REFORM  CHECKED  BY  DEFENCE  OF  OLD  FAITHS  185 

whom  he  calls  the  Anointed,  and  to  whom  he  attributes  his 
conversion.  His  language  throughout  is  modelled  on  the 
Bible;  but  in  every  case  Christian  truth  is  volatilized,  so 
as  to  become  equivalent  to  Hindu  doctrine.  Baptism,  the 
Holy  Ghost,  Regeneration,  the  Kingdom  of  God,  Eternal  Life, 
and  other  such  phrases  are  scattered  about  his  pages  every 
where  ;  and  many  texts  are  quoted  from  the  Gospels ;  but  all 
are  emptied  of  their  real  meaning. 


CHAPTER  IV 

FULL  DEFENCE   OF  THE   OLD i  REnQIONS 

1870-1913 

AT  the  beginning  of  our  third  chapter  we  noted  the  rise  in 
India  about  1870  of  a  new  spirit,  which  generated  many 
religious  movements,  roughly  divisible  into  two  series,  one 
marked  by  defence  of  the  old,  tempered  by  reform,  the  other 
eager  to  defend  the  old  in  almost  every  particular.  We  deal 
with  this  latter  series  in  this  chapter. 

i.  BEGINNINGS 

The  earliest  stirrings  of  the  new  spirit  appeared  in  and 
around  Calcutta.  In  1872  Raj  Narayan  Bose,  one  of  the 
leaders  of  the  Adi  Brahma  Samaj,1  delivered  a  lecture  on  The 
Superiority  of  Hinduism  over  all  other  Forms  of  Faith,2  which 
attracted  a  good  deal  of  attention.  The  very  next  year,  the 
idea  of  the  equality  of  all  religions,  which  has  become  so 
closely  associated  these  last  thirty  years  with  the  defence  of 
Hinduism,  found  organized  expression  at  Barahanagar,  a  few 
miles  to  the  north  of  Calcutta.  Mr.  S^rja.d^a_,^anurji,  a 
Kulin  Brahman,  who  had  early  turned  to  various  forms  of 
social  service,  and  had  become  a  member  of  the  Brahma 
Samaj  in  1865,  established  a  religious  association,  which  he 
called  the  Sddhdran  Dharma  Sabha,  or  General  Religious 
Association,  in  which  Hindus,  Brahmas,  Christians,  Buddhists 

1  P.  46,  above.  2  HBS.,  I,  248. 

186 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       187 

and  Muslims  were  allowed  freely  to  express  their  own  religious 
beliefs,  so  long  as  they  condemned  no  one.  The  following 
is  a  description  of  its  work : 

Its  two  main  features  were,  first,  a  spiritual  union,  held 
every  week,  of  the  followers  of  various  religions  on  the  basis 
of  commonly-accepted  principles  —  a  union  in  which  prayers 
and  other  spiritual  exercises  took  place  and  were  joined  in  by 
all;  and,  secondly,  a  platform  for  the  preaching  of  diverse 
opinions  by  their  advocates,  a  platform  where  the  most  perfect 
freedom  and  toleration  were  allowed  consistently  with  brotherly 
feeling  and  general  co-operation;  for  no  one  was  allowed  to 
vilify  or  ridicule  the  beliefs  and  practices  of  another.1 

The  work  has  died  out  at  Barahanagar.  But,  within  recent 
years,  Mr.  Banurji  has  started  it  again  in  Calcutta.  The 
institution  is  named  the  Devalaya,  or  "  Divine  House."2  The 
building  is  his  own,  and  stands  in  the  compound  of  the  Sadh- 
aran  Barhma  Samaj.  He  has  made  over  this  property  to  a 
group  of  trustees,  so  that  it  may  be  used  for  the  purposes 
described  by  the  donor.  It  is  most  curious  to  note  how  sim 
ilar  Sasipada's  original  idea  is  to  those  which,  a  few  years 
later,  were  expressed  by  Ramakrishna,  and  later  still,  by 
Theosophists. 

We  may  also  note  that  in  1873, at  tne  very  ^me  wnen  ne  was 
starting  his  General  Religious  Association  at  Barahanagar,  a 
group  of  Hindus  formed  in  Calcutta  the  Sandtana  Dharma 
Rakshini  Sabha,  or  Association  for  the  Defence  of  the  Eternal 
Religion.  They  were  anxious  to  found  a  Sanskrit  School  in 
the  city  to  counteract  modern  tendencies.  One  of  the  reasons 
why  Dayananda  SarasvatI  visited  Calcutta  was  that  he  hoped 
to  help  this  society.3  A  few  years  later  the  Hindus  of  the 
South  began  to  move  in  the  same  direction,  as  we  shall  see. 

1  The  Devdlaya,  by  S.  N.  Tattvabhushan,  19. 

2  Ib.,  26. 

3  Swami  Dayanand  Saraswati,  28,  Madras,  Natesan.    Cf .  above,  p.iog. 


i88     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

2.  RAMAKRISHNA  PARAMAHAMSA 

But  the  man  who  really  made  these  ideas  current  coin  in 
India  was  a  Bengali  ascetic,  known  as  Ramakrishna  Para- 
mahamsa. 

i.  Gadadhar  Chatter ji1  was  born  in  the  village  of  Kamar- 
pukurin  the  Hoogly  district  of  Bengal,  on  the  2oth  of  February, 
i8^4,2  in  a  poor  but  orthodox  Brahman  family.  The  accounts 
which  are  published  of  his  life  already  tend  to  be  mythical. 
Even  the  best  biography  that  exists,  which  was  written  by  one 
of  his  pupils,  and  published  by  Max  Miiller,  decidedly  tends 
here  and  there  towards  the  marvellous ;  and  a  large  volume, 
published  by  another  of  his  disciples,  and  called  the  Gospel 
i  of  Sri  Ramakrishna,  imitates  the  Christian  Gospels  so  carefully 
in  many  minor  points  that  one  wonders  how  far  the  assimila 
tion  has  gone.  Yet  the  main  events  of  his  life  stand  out  quite 
clear,  so  that  we  can  trace,  in  large  measure,  the  growth  of  this 
gifted  man's  mind. 

Even  when  quite  a  boy,  he  showed  wonderful  powers  of 
memory  and  considerable  interest  in  religious  books  and 
stories.  He  received  no  education.  His  father  died  when 
he  was  about  seventeen;  and  he  then  went  with  his  elder 
brother,  Pandit  Ram  Kumar,  down  to  Calcutta,  to  try  to 
make  a  living.  For  some  time  he  was  employed  as  pujdri, 
or  ministrant,  in  certain  Hindu  families  in  the  northern  part 
of  the  city,  his  duty  being  to  see  to  the  worship  of  the  house 
hold  idols.  But  a  wealthy  Bengali  lady  built  rather  a  strik 
ing  temple  at  Dakshinesvara,  four  miles  north  of  Calcutta,  on 
the  bank  of  the  Hugli  River ;  and,  when  this  temple  was  opened 
on  the  3ist  of  May,  1855,  his  elder  brother  was  appointed 
chief  priest.  Soon  after,  Gadadhar  was  appointed  one  of  the 
assistant  priests. 

1  The  details  of  his  life  are  taken  mainly  from  Max  Midler's  Ramakrishna. 
Where  I  differ  from  him,  I  give  my  authority. 

2  See  the  Gospel  of  R.,  p.  i.     Miiller 's  date  is  clearly  wrong. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       189 

The  two  brothers  were  now  in  comfortable  circumstances ; 
but  almost  at  once  religion  began  to  assert  itself  in  Gadadhar's 
life.  The  form  which  his  religious  passion  took  was  a  fervent 
worship  of  the  image  of  Kali  in  the  temple.  He  thought  of 
her  as  the  mother  of  the  universe,  and  as  his  own  mother. 
The  following  quotation  is  from  Max  Mliller's  life : 1 

He  now  began  to  look  upon  the  image  of  the  goddess  Kali 
as  his  mother  and  the  mother  of  the  universe.  He  believed  it 
to  be  living  and  breathing  and  taking  food  out  of  his  hand. 
After  the  regular  forms  of  worship  he  would  sit  there  for  hours 
and  hours,  singing  hymns  and  talking  and  praying  to  her  as 
a  child  to  his  mother,  till  he  lost  all  consciousness  of  the  out 
ward  world. 

In  his  religious  ecstasy  he  would  pass  into  that  form  of  trance 
which  is  called  in  Hinduism  samddhi.  When  this  came  on 
him,  he  became  unconscious.  He  would  sit  in  a  fixed  posi 
tion  for  a  short  time,  or  it  might  be  for  hours,  and  would  then 
slowly  return  to  consciousness.  When  he  was  in  this  condi 
tion,  the  best  doctors  could  find  no  trace  of  pulse  or  of  heart- 1 
action.2  It  is  also  said  that  he  already  had  the  power  of  in 
ducing  samadhi  in  others.  This  trance  is  clearly  a  form  of 
hypnotism. 

His  mother  and  brothers,  thinking  that  marriage  would 
make  him  more  like  ordinary  people,  took  him  home,  and  had 
him  married.  This  was  in  1859.  He  was  then  twenty-five 
years  of  age,  while  his  little  bride  was  only  six.  This  Hindu 
marriage-ceremony  is  a  full  Hindu  marriage,  and  completely 
binding :  but  the  husband  and  wife  do  not  live  together  until 
the  little  girl- wife  is  eleven  or  twelve  years  old. 

Then  he  returned  to  the  temple,  leaving  his  little  wife  in 
her  father's  home.  But,  instead  of  getting  rid  of  his  religious 
ecstasy,  he  developed  a  new  phase.  He  now  had  an  over 
powering  desire  to  realize  the  existence  and  the  presence  of 

1  P.  36.  2  R&makrishna,  57. 


1 90     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

his  mother,  the  goddess.  The  following  is  from  one  of  his 
disciples : 

"Oh  Mother!"  he  would  cry,  "show  me  the  truth!  Art 
Thou  there  ?  Art  Thou  there  ?  Dost  Thou  exist  ?  Why  then 
should  I  be  left  in  ignorance  ?  Why  can  I  not  realize  ?  Words 
and  philosophy  are  vain.  Vain  all  this  talk  of  things  !  Truth  ! 
It  is  truth  alone  I  want  to  realize.  Truth  I  would  touch ! 
Truth  I  seek  to  feel!"1 

He  believed  that  God  can  be  seen.  He  felt  that,  until  he  had 
seen  Kali,  he  had  not  realized  her,  and  that  there  was  some 
thing  wrong  with  his  devotion.  He  would  fall  into  samddhi, 
and  remain  unconscious  for  hours.  His  neglect  of  his  duties 
as  priest  of  the  temple  was  so  serious,  that  he  had  to  be  de 
prived  of  his  position.  He  left  the  temple,  and  lived  in  a  little 
wood  near  by.  From  now  onwards  for  about  twelve  years 
he  lived  a  life  of  prayer  and  supplication,  of  severe  self-repres 
sion,  and  of  unceasing  effort  to  reach  union  with  God : 

Looking  back  to  these  years  of  self-torture  in  his  later  days, 
he  said,  '  that  a  great  religious  tornado,  as  it  were,  raged  within 
him  during  these  years  and  made  everything  topsy-turvy.' 
He  had  no  idea  then  that  it  lasted  for  so  long  a  time.  He 
never  had  a  wink  of  sound  sleep  during  these  years,  could  not 
even  doze,  but  his  eyes  would  remain  always  open  and  fixed.2 

The  first  person  who  understood  him  and  helped  him,  was  a 
Brahman  nun  (sannydsim),  who  came  and  resided  in  the 
temple  for  some  time.  She  was  a  woman  of  great  beauty,  and 
considerable  learning.  She  knew  and  practised  yoga,  that  is, 
various  bodily  postures,  breathing  exercises,  and  forms  of  in 
tellectual  drill,  meant  for  the  progressive  restraint  of  both 
body  and  mind  and  the  development  of  supernatural  powers. 
The  books  she  knew  were  the  Tantras,  old  manuals  written  for 
the  worship  of  Kali,  and  the  exposition  of  the  theology  con- 

1  My  Master,  30.  2  Ramaskrishna,  41. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       191 

nected  with  her  name.  She  understood  Gadadhar's  religious 
condition,  and  her  sympathy  was  of  great  service  to  him. 
She  showed  his  friends  old  Vaishnava  books  from  which  it 
appeared  that  the  saints  of  Bengal  of  former  days  were  afflicted 
just  as  he  was.  She  taught  him  all  she  knew ;  and  then,  after 
a  stay  of  some  years,  departed  and  was  never  seen  again. 

Gadadhar  was  still  dissatisfied.  He  longed  for  higher 
knowledge ;  and,  fortunately,  there  came  to  the  temple  a  man 
named  Tota^puri  who  was  able  to  help  him.  He  was  a  tall, 
strong,  muscular  ascetic,  who  wore  no  clothing,  and  never 
slept  under  a  roof,  but  kept  up  the  use  of  the  sacred  fire.  He 
was  some  sort  of  monk,  sannyasi,  but  he  cannot  have  belonged 
to  any  of  the  great  orders,  else  he  would  not  have  had  a  fire. 
The  system  of  philosophy  which  he  followed  was  the  monistic 
Vedanta,  as  taught  by  Sankaracharya.  The  doctrines  are 
that  God  is  impersonal,  that  the  human  spirit  is  identical  with 
God,  and  that  the  world  is  an  illusion.  This  he  expounded  to 
Gadadhar;  and  the  latter  proved  a  quick  pupil.  He  also 
taught  him  the  highest  stage  of  religious  trance,  niruikalpa 
samddhi,  in  which  not  a  trace  of  consciousness  remains.  But 
the  master  also  learned  much  from  the  pupil;  so  that  he 
stayed  eleven  months  with  him.  He  initiated  Gadadhar  as  a 
monk,  sannyasi.  As  we  have  already  seen,  the  sannyasi  gives 
up  home,  property,  caste,  ornaments,  the  work  of  the  world, 
money  and  marriage.  Gadadhar  was  able  to  take  this  vow, 
because  he  had  forgotten  that  he  was  married.  When  a  man 
becomes  a  sannyasi,  he  takes  a  new  name.  From  this  time 
forward,  then,  he  was  known  as  Ramakrishna.  At  a  later 
date  his  friends  called  him  Paramahamsa,  a  title  bestowed 
only  on  sannyasls  of  the  most  advanced  knowledge  and 
sanctity. 

After  the  departure  of  Tota-puri,  Ramakrishna  desired  to 
remain  continuously  in  the  exalted  form  of  trance  he  had 
learnt ;  and  we  are  told  that,  for  six  months,  almost  without 


192     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

a  break,  he  lived  in  religious  unconsciousness.  His  own  ac 
count  of  these  days  is  as  follows : 

In  those  days  I  was  quite  unconscious  of  the  outer  world. 
My  body  would  have  died  for  want  of  nourishment,  but  for  a 
sadhu  (religious  ascetic)  who  came  at  that  time  and  stayed 
there  for  three  days  for  my  sake.  He  recognized  my  state  of 
Samadhi,  and  took  much  interest  to  preserve  this  body,  while 
I  was  unconscious  of  its  very  existence.  He  used  to  bring  some 
food  every  day,  and  when  all  methods  failed  to  restore  sensa 
tion  or  consciousness  to  this  body  of  mine,  he  would  even  strike 
me  with  a  heavy  club,  so  that  the  pain  might  bring  me  back  to 
consciousness.  Sometimes  he  succeeded  in  awakening  a  sort 
of  partial  consciousness  in  me,  and  he  would  immediately  force 
down  one  or  two  mouthfuls  of  food  before  I  was  lost  again  in 
deep  Samadhi.  Some  days  when  he  could  not  produce  any 
response,  even  after  a  severe  beating,  he  was  very  sorrowful.1 

The  trance  period  passed  away,  ending  in  a  serious  illness,  but 
Ramakrishna  recovered. 

He  next  sought  to  attain  the  Vaishnava  ideal  of  love  for 
God.  The  method  by  which  he  tried  to  rouse  the  right 
feelings  was  to  imagine  he  was  some  one  of  the  great  devotees 
of  the  old  stories.  For  example,  he  imagined  himself  Radha, 
Krishna's  cowherd  mistress,  wore  woman's  attire,  spoke  like 
a  woman,  and  lived  among  the  women  of  his  own  family, 
until  he  experienced  something  like  her  passionate  love  for 
Krishna.  After  some  time  he  felt  he  had  attained  his  ideal : 
he  saw  the  beautiful  form  of  Krishna  in  a  trance,  and  was 
satisfied. 

The  twelve  years  of  storm  and  stress  had  passed.  He  was 
at  peace.  It  was  the  year  1871.  His  wife,  who  was  now 
eighteen  years  of  age,  and  had  heard  of  his  fame,  came  to  see 
him.  Ramakrishna  explained  that  he  could  never  be  a  hus 
band  to  her.  She  replied  that  she  was  quite  satisfied  to  live 
with  him  on  his  own  terms,  if  he  would  only  enlighten  her 

1  Ramakrishna,  49. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       193 

mind,  and  enable  her  to  see  and  serve  God.  So  she  took  up 
her  residence  in  the  temple,  and  became  one  of  his  most  de 
voted  pupils.  She  survived  him,  and  spoke  in  the  warmest 
way  of  him  afterwards.  She  revered  him  as  a  divine  being. 

The  next  impulse  that  came  to  him  was  to  conquer  his  own 
feelings  in  matters  of  caste.  Since  he  was  a  sannyasi,  he  had 
no  caste  of  his  own  left,  according  to  the  rules  of  his  religion ; 
yet  the  prejudices  and  instinctive  feelings  of  his  Brahman  birth 
remained ;  and  he  felt  he  must  overcome  his  natural  abhor 
rence  of  low-caste  people.  One  of  his  disciples  describes  what 
he  did: 

In  order,  then,  that  he  might  stand  above  none,  our  Brahmin 
sought  to  identify  himself  with  the  Chandala,  by  doing  his 
work.  He  is  the  street-cleaner,  and  the  scavenger,  touched 
by  no  one;  and  so,  in  the  night,  this  man  possessed  himself 
of  his  brooms  and  utensils,  and  entering  those  hidden  offices 
of  the  temple  which  it  was  the  duty  of  pariahs  to  cleanse,  he 
knelt  down,  and  did  the  work  of  purification  with  his  own 
hands,  wiping  the  place  with  his  hair !  Nor  was  this  the  only 
abasement  that  he  imposed  upon  himself.  The  temple  gave 
food  daily  to  many  beggars,  and  amongst  these  were  Mahom- 
medans,  outcasts,  and  people  of  no  character.  Waiting  till 
all  had  finished  eating,  our  Brahmin  would  collect  the  green 
leaves  that  had  formed  their  plates,  would  gather  together  the 
broken  fragments  of  food  that  they  had  left,  would  even  eat 
from  amongst  their  rejected  morsels,  and  would  finally  cleanse  the 
place  where  all  sorts  and  conditions  of  men  had  had  their  meal.1 

He  was  next  seized  by  the  desire  to  know  and  understand 
other  religions.  Here  are  two  quotations  which  tell  how  he 
proceeded : 

He  found  a  Mahommedan  saint  and  went  to  live  with  him ; 
he  underwent  the  discipline  prescribed  by  him,  became  a  Mahom 
medan  for  the  time  being,  lived  like  a  Mahommedan,  dressed 
like  a  Mahommedan,  and  did  everything  laid  down  in  their 
codes.2 

1  My  Master,  38-40.  2  Ib.,  41. 

o 


IQ4     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

I 


He  had  seen  Jesus  in  a  vision,  and  for  three  days  he  could 
think  of  nothing  and  speak  of  nothing  but  Jesus  and  His  love.1 


The  result  was  that  he  came  to  the  conclusion  that  all  reli 
gions  were  true,  that  they  were  simply  various  paths  leading 
to  the  same  goal. 

2.  People  now  began  to  visit  him.  One  of  his  chief  friends 
was  a  pandit,  named  Vaishnava  Charan,  who  often  went  to 
see  him,  and  now  and  then  brought  him  to  Calcutta.2  Daya- 
nanda  Sarasvatl  met  him  during  the  time  which  he  spent  in 
Calcutta  at  the  end  of  1872  and  the  beginning  of  i873-3 
About  the  year  1875,  Keshab  Chandra  Sen  made  his  ac 
quaintance,4  and  became  deeply  interested  in  him.  He  talked 
about  him  to  his  friends,  and  also  wrote  about  him.  In  conse 
quence,  educated  men  from  Calcutta  began  to  go  to  the 
temple  to  see  Ramakrishna.  From  this  time  onward,  he 
made  the  acquaintance  of  those  young  men  who  became  his 
devoted  disciples,  and  carried  on  his  work  after  his  death. 
Many  famous  Indians  went  to  see  him,  and  to  listen  to  his 
brilliant  conversation.5  For  seven  years,  from  1879  to  his 
death  in  1886,  he  talked  almost  incessantly.  He  wrote 
nothing,  but  his  disciples  took  down  his  sayings  in  Bengali ; 
and  several  collections  of  them  have  been  published.  The 
most  convenient  collection  is  that  contained  in  Max  Miiller's 
Ramakrishna.  The  Gospel  of  Sri  Ramakrishna,  written  by 
Prof.  M.  N.  Gupta,  one  of  his  disciples,  consists  of  a  brief  in 
troduction,  containing  the  merest  outline  of  his  life,  and  a 
description  of  the  temple  precincts  where  he  lived,  and  then 
350  pages  of  conversations  with  friends  and  disciples.  A  good 
deal  of  the  language  is  modelled  on  the  language  of  the 
Gospels. 

According  to  his  most  famous  disciple,  Narendra  Nath  Dutt, 

1  Ramakrishna,  51.  z  Gospel  of  R.,  6.  3  Ib.,  9,  182. 

4  Ib.,  7.     M  tiller's  date,  p.  55,  is  manifestly  wrong.     P.  51,  above. 
6  Gospel  of  R.,  8-10,  135,  182. 


PLATE   IX 


RAMAKRISHNA  PARAMAHAMSA  SVAM!  VIVEKANANDA 


MADAME  BLAVATSKY 


MRS.  BESANT 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       195 

usually  called  SvamTVivekananda,  he  had  two  types  of  con 
versation,  as  may  be  seen  from  the  following  paragraph : 1 

He  was  a  wonderful  mixture  of  God  and  man.  In  his  ordi 
nary  state  he  would  talk  of  himself  as  servant  of  all  men  and 
women.  He  looked  upon  them  all  as  God.  He  himself  would 
never  be  addressed  as  Guru,  or  teacher.  Never  would  he  claim 
for  himself  any  high  position.  He  would  touch  the  ground 
reverently  where  his  disciples  had  trodden.  But  every  now  and 
then  strange  fits  of  God-consciousness  came  upon  him.  He 
then  spoke  of  himself  as  being  able  to  do  and  know  everything. 
He  spoke  as  if  he  had  the  power  of  giving  anything  to  anybody. 
He  would  speak  of  himself  as  the  same  soul  that  had  been  born 
before  as  Rama,  as  Krishna,  as  Jesus,  or  as  Buddha,  born  again 
as  Ramakrishna.  He  told  Mathuranatha  long  before  anybody 
knew  him,  that  he  had  many  disciples  who  would  come  to  him 
shortly,  and  he  knew  all  of  them.  He  said  that  he  was  free 
from  all  eternity,  and  the  practices  and  struggles  after  religion 
which  he  went  through  were  only  meant  to  show  the  people 
the  way  to  salvation.  He  had  done  all  for  them  alone.  He 
would  say  he  was  a  Nitya-mukta,  or  eternally  free,  and  an  in 
carnation  of  God  Himself. 

3.  The  character  of  Ramakrishna  was  singularly  simple. 
He  seemed  to  be  capable  of  only  a  single  motive,  namely,  a 
passion  for  God.  That  ruled  and  filled  him.  So  completely 
did  it  dominate  him  that  many  regarded  him  as  a  useless,  in 
effective  man,  while  others  said  he  was  mad.  His  idea  of  God 
seems  crude  and  thin  to  a  Christian ;  yet  it  had  mastered  him ; 
and,  when  we  follow  that  clue,  every  detail  of  his  character 
and  life  falls  into  place.  For  this  end  he  became  a  sarmyasi, 
renouncing  caste,  marriage,  property,  money.  In  order  that 
his  renunciation  might  be  utterly  real,  he  put  himself  through 
a  tremendous  discipline  of  repression,  until  his  hatred  of  money 
had  become  so  instinctive  that  his  body  would  shrink  back 
convulsively  if  he  were  touched  with  a  coin,  when  asleep ; 2 

1  R&makrishna,  58.  2  My  Master,  61, 


196     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

and  he  had  so  conquered  the  sex  instinct  that  every  woman  was 
to  him  a  mother.  On  this  latter  point  P.  C.  Mozoomdar,1 
the  Brahma,  says : 

For  long  years,  therefore,  he  says,  he  made  the  utmost 
efforts  to  be  delivered  from  the  influence  of  women.  His  heart 
rending  supplications  and  prayers  for  such  deliverance  sometimes 
uttered  aloud  in  his  retreat  on  the  river-side,  brought  crowds  of 
people  who  bitterly  cried  when  he  cried,  and  could  not  help 
blessing  him  and  wishing  him  success  with  their  whole  hearts. 

This  same  passion  for  God,  taken  along  with  the  Hindu  idea 
of  God,  will  explain  also  the  more  curious  and  eccentric  points 
of  his  character.  One  of  his  own  sayings  is : 

A  true  devotee  who  has  drunk  deep  of  the  Divine  Love  is 
like  a  veritable  drunkard,  and,  as  such,  cannot  always  observe 
I  the  rules  of  propriety.2 

It  is  from  this  point  of  view  that  we  can  understand  another  of 
Mozoomdar's  statements  about  him : 
1      His  speech  at  times  was  abominably  filthy.3 

He  believed  God  in  His  true  essence  to  be  impersonal,  un 
knowable,  beyond  the  reach  of  man.  On  the  other  hand, 
every  human  being,  indeed  everything  that  is,  is  a  manifesta 
tion  of  God.  Everything  that  happens  is,  in  a  sense,  done 
by  Him: 

God  tells  the  thief  to  go  and  steal,  and  at  the  same  time  warns 
the  householder  against  the  thief.4 

God  is  thus  so  truly  all  that  is,  that  in  Him  moral  distinctions 
become  obliterated.5  Here  we  get  a  glimpse  of  the  radical 
distinction  between  Christianity  and  Hinduism.  Another 
point  in  his  conduct  will  enable  us  to  understand  still  more 
clearly.  Since  every  human  being  is  a  manifestation  of  God, 

1  Paramahamsa  Rdmaknshna,  13.  2  Ramakrishna,  121. 

»  Ib.,  62,  4  Ib.,  103.  5  Gospel  of  R.,  72. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       197 

if  Ramakrishna  happened  to  meet  an  unfortunate,  he  would  i 
bow  down  before  her  in  adoration.     Contrast  with  this  the  I 
mind  of  Christ,  who  loved  the  unfortunate  as  a  child  of  God, 
but  could  not  be  content,  unless  she  came  to  repentance. 

Like  every  ordinary  Hindu,  Ramakrishna  regarded  all 
deities  as  manifestations  of  the  impersonal  Supreme.  He 
recognizes  the  goddess  Kali  as  one  of  the  chief  manifestations 
of  God.  She  was  to  him  the  divine  mother  of  the  universe, 
and  he  worshipped  her  more  than  any  other  divinity.  He 
worshipped  her  by  means  of  idols ;  for  he  implicitly  believed 
the  Hindu  doctrine,  that  the  divinity  fills  every  one  of  his  own. 
idols  with  his  presence.1  He  also  held  the  ordinary  Hindu 
idea  of  the  guru.  Here  is  one  of  his  sayings : 

The  disciple  should  never  criticise  his  own  Guru.  He  must 
implicitly  obey  whatever  his  Guru  says.  Says  a  Bengali 
couplet : 

Though  my  Guru  may  visit  tavern  and  still, 
My  Guru  is  holy  Rai  Nityananda  still.2 

He  was  thus  a  true  Hindu,  and  was  ready  at  any  moment 
to  defend  the  whole  of  Hinduism. 

Thus  far  Ramakrishna  was  simply  a  very  devoted  Hindu. 
Had  there  been  nothing  more  in  him,  he  might  have  lived  at 
any  time  during  the  last  two  thousand  years.  There  have 
been  multitudes  of  men  like  him  in  India.  But  the  living 
forces  which  are  making  the  new  India  pressed  in  upon  him 
from  every  side.  Though  he  had  no  English  education,  the 
new  thought  came  to  him  by  many  channels.  Christianity 
was  demanding  acceptance  from  Hindus,  claiming  to  be  the 
one  religion  for  the  whole  world,  urging  its  ethics  on  all  men. 
Islam  was  also  present,  but  far  less  active.  What  was  his 
response  to  the  situation  ?  He  declared  that  all  religions  were 
true,  that  in  their  inner  essence  they  were  identical,  and  that 

1  See  above,  p.  189,  and  Gospel  of  R.,  187.  2  Ramakrishna,  133. 


1 98     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

each  man  should  remain  in  the  religion  in  which  he  had  been 
born: 

A  truly  religious  man  should  think  that  other  religions  also 
are  paths  leading  to  the  truth.1 

Every  man  should  follow  his  own  religion.  A  Christian 
should  follow  Christianity,  a  Mohammedan  should  follow 
Mohammedanism,  and  so  on.  For  the  Hindus  the  ancient 
path,  the  path  of  the  Aryan  Rishis,  is  the  best.2 

4.  One  of  Ramakrishna's  disciples,  a  wealthy  Calcutta  man, 
named  Surendranath  Mitter,  was  keenly  interested  in  the 
result  produced  on  Keshab  Chandra^JSen  by  his  master's 
teaching  on  this  point,3  and  employed  a  painter  to  produce 
a  symbolical  picture,  embodying  the  idea  of  the  harmony  of 
all  religions  and  of  the  part  played  by  Ramakrishna  in  intro 
ducing  it  to  Keshab.4    I  have  not  been  able  to  discover  with 
certainty  when  the  picture  was  painted,  but  it  was  already  in 
existence  on  the  2yth  of  October,  i882.5    When  it  was  shewn 
to  Keshab,  he  exclaimed,  "Blessed  is  the  man  who  conceived 
the  idea  of  this  picture."    At  a  later  date  the  picture  was  re 
produced  and  published  as  a  supplement  to  Unity  and  the 
Minister,  a  weekly  paper  representing  one  of  the  sub-divisions 
into  which  the  Church  of  the  New  Dispensation  split  up  after 
the  great  leader's  death.    This  picture  is  reproduced  here. 
>In  the  background  are  a  Christian  church,  a  Muhammadan 
'>  mosque,  and  a  Hindu  temple.     In  front  of  the  church  stand 
]j  Keshab  and  Ramakrishna,  Keshab  carrying  the  symbol  of 
the  New  Dispensation  described   above,6  and  Ramakrishna 
}  calling  Keshab's  attention  to  the  group  of  figures  arranged  in 
).  front  of  the  mosque  and  the  temple.     In  the  middle  of  this 
group  Christ  and  Chaitanya,  a  Bengali  religious  leader  of  the 
?  sixteenth  century,7  are  represented  dancing  together,  while  a 

1  Ramakrishna,  153.  2  Ib.,  177.  3  See  above,  pp.  57-8. 

4  Janmabhumi,  Asarha,  1317  Sal. 

6  Gospel  of  R.,  132,  164.  6  P.  56,  above.      7  P.  293,  below. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       199 

Muslim,  a  Confucian,  a  Sikh,  a  Parsee,  an  Anglican  clergy 
man  and  various  Hindus  stand  round  them,  each  carrying 
some  symbol  of  his  faith.  It  seems  to  me  that  nothing 
could  be  more  fitting  (for  I  am  writing  in  Oxford  and  the 
subject  is  most  apposite)  than  to  dedicate  this  interesting 
piece  of  theological  art  to  the  versatile  author  of  Reunion  fi^ytf  /7 
All  Round. 

5.  It  was  his  teaching  on  the  religions  that  laid  hold  of  his  , 
disciples.  He  impressed  all  who  came  in  contact  with  him  as  a 
most  sincere  soul,  a  God-intoxicated  man ;  but  what  distin 
guished  his  message  from  the  teaching  of  others  was  his  de 
fence  of  everything  Hindu  and  his  theory  that  all  religions  are 
true.  This  gave  his  teaching  a  universalistic  turn,  and  pro 
vided  the  ordinary  Hindu  with  a  defence  which  he  could  use  to 
meet  Christian  criticism  and  the  Brahma  Samaj. 

His  personal  influence  over  all  who  came  within  his  range 
was  very  remarkable.  Mozoomdar  says : 

My  mind  is  still  floating  in  the  luminous  atmosphere  which 
that  wonderful  man  diffuses  around  him  whenever  and  wher 
ever  he  goes.  My  mind  is  not  yet  disenchanted  of  the  myste 
rious  and  indefinable  pathos  which  he  pours  into  it  whenever 
he  meets  me.1 

Over  his  personal  disciples  he  exercised  a  still  more  wonderful 
power.  Their  love  and  reverence  for  him  was  boundless. 
They  worshipped  him.  Vivekananda  once  remarked  to  a 
well-known  Calcutta  citizen  of  high  character,  Dr.  Sircar : 

We  look  upon  the  Master  as  a  Person  who  is  like  God. 
We  offer  to  Him  worship  bordering  on  divine  worship. 

Here  we  have  ancient  Hindu  guru- worship  checked  in  Vivek- 
ananda's  mind  by  the  Christian  teaching  he  had  got  in  his 
college  course.  Apart  from  Christian  influence,  he  would 
have  said,  "He  is  God,  and  we  worship  him  as  God." 

1  Paramahamsa  Ramakrishna,  i.        2  Gospel  of  R.,  357.        »  Ib.,  360. 


200    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

The  picture  given  of  him  by  his  disciples  is  very  pleasing  and 
very  vivid ;  yet  there  are  not  many  personal  traits  to  notice. 
Though  he  was  a  sannyasl,  he  dressed  like  an  ordinary  Ben 
gali,  and  lived  like  one.1  Mozoomdar  in  describing  him  uses 
the  words : 

a  child-like  tenderness,  a  profound  visible  humbleness,  an 
unspeakable  sweetness  of  expression  and  a  smile  that  I  have 
seen  on  no  other  face  that  I  can  remember.2 

|  He  knew  no  Sanskrit  and  scarcely  any  English.     His  disciples 

[  would  smile  when  he  used  the  English  words,  "  Thank  you." 

I  Indeed  he  had  no  scholarly  knowledge  even  of  Bengali.3    But 

his  conversation  was  full  of  quaint,  good  sense,  expressed  in 

vivid  homely  phrases,  and  lighted  up  here  and  there  with  a 

broad  kindly  humour.     He  was  fond  of  certain  short  allitera- 

jtive  phrases,  which  he  had  coined,4  expressive  of  his  main 

religious  ideas,  such  as : 

Naham,  naham :  Tuhu,  tuhu. 

that  is, "  No 1 1,  no 1 1,  Thou,  Thou. ' '  He  was  no  formal  teacher. 
Indeed  he  used  to  say,  "I  am  nobody's  teacher :  I  am  every 
body's  disciple."5  He  was  a  conversationalist,  pouring  out 
his  riches  like  Samuel  Johnson. 

6.  After  Ramakrishna's  death,6  his  chief  disciples  decided  that 
they  must  devote  their  lives  to  the  spread  of  his  teaching. 
So  a  group  of  them  renounced  the  world  and  became  sannyasls. 
Amongst  these  by  far  the  most  prominent  has  been  Narenda 
Nath  Datta,  who  took  the  name  Vivekananda,  when  he  be 
came  a  sannyasl.  Svami  is  a  title  of  respect  given  to  any 
sannyasi.  He  was  a  Bengali,  belonging  to  Calcutta,  a  Kayas- 
tha  by  caste,  born  on  the  Qth  of  January,  1862. 7  He  received 

1  Gospel  of  R.,  133.  2  Paramahamsa  Rdmakrishna,  3. 

3  Rdmakrishna,  62 ;  Gospel  of  R.,  194.  4  Gospel  of  R.,  196-7. 

5  Ib.,  337.  6  On  the  isth  March,  1886. 

7  See  a  brief  biography  published  by  Natesan,  Madras. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       201 

a  good  English  education,  taking  his  degree  from  a  Mission 
College  in  Calcutta,  and  distinguishing  himself  in  philosophy. 
As  a  student,  he  came  a  good  deal  under  the  influence  of  the 
Brahma  Samaj.  He  had  a  fine  voice,  and  wherever  he  went 
was  in  great  request  for  the  singing  of  Bengali  hymns.  After 
taking  his  degree,  he  began  the  study  of  law ;  but,  early  in 
1882,  an  uncle  took  him  to  see  Ramakrishna ;  and  that  mo 
ment  became  the  turning-point  in  his  life. 

From  the  first  Ramakrishna  singled  him  out  as  one  destined 
to  do  great  things  for  God,  and  gave  him  a  great  deal  of  at 
tention.  On  his  master's  death  he  became  a  sannyasi,  as  we 
j  have  said,  and  then  spent  some  six  years  in  retirement  on  the 
Himalayas,  doubtless  studying  and  thinking  about  many 
things.  Among  other  places  he  is  said  to  have  visited  Tibet, 
in  order  to  study  Buddhism.  In  1892  he  emerged  from  his 
retirement,  and  toured  all  down  the  western  coast  of  India, 
going  as  far  south  as  Trevandrum,  whence  he  turned  north 
again  and  went  to  Madras.  Preparations  were  being  made  at 
that  time  for  holding  the  Parliament  of  Religions  in  Chicago. 
Some  friends  in  Madras  proposed  that  Vivekananda  should  be 
sent  to  the  Parliament  to  represent  Hinduism.  Funds  were 
collected,  and  he  travelled  to  America  by  way  of  Japan. 

The  gathering  was  held  in  September,  1893 ;  and  Vivek 
ananda  made  a  great  impression,  partly  by  his  eloquence,  partly 
by  his  striking  figure  and  picturesque  dress,  but  mainly  by  his 
new,  unheard-of  presentation  of  Hinduism.  We  shall  deal 
with  his  thought  later ;  so  that  we  need  not  delay  over  it  here. 
The  following  quotations  from  American  papers  show  how  far 
those  who  were  most  deeply  influenced  by  the  Svami  went : 

He  is  an  orator  by  divine  right,  and  his  strong,  intelligent 
face  in  its  picturesque  setting  of  yellow  and  orange  was  hardly 
less  interesting  than  those  earnest  words,  and  the  rich,  rhyth 
mical  utterance  he  gave  them.1 

1  The  New  York  Critique. 


202     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

Vivekananda  is  undoubtedly  the  greatest  figure  in  the 
Parliament  of  Religions.  After  hearing  him  we  feel  how 
foolish  it  is  to  send  missionaries  to  this  learned  nation.1 

He  stayed  some  time  in  America,  lecturing  and  founding 

Vedanta  societies  in  several  places.    Two  American  disciples 

joined  him,  Madame  Louise,  who  became  Svami  Abhaya- 

nanda,  and  Mr.  Sandsberg,  who  became  Svami  Kripananda. 

From  America  he  crossed  to  England,  where  he  was  joined  by 

,  his  most  notable  disciple,  Miss  Margaret  Noble,  who  took  the 

I  name  Sister  Nivedita  (i.e.  dedicated). 

In  January,  1897,  the  Svami  arrived  in  Colombo  with  his 
small  group  of  Western  disciples,  and  from  there  made  a 
triumphal  progress  all  the  way  up  through  India.  He  was 
everywhere  acclaimed  by  vast  audiences  of  Hindus  as  the 
Saviour  of  the  ancient  faith;  and  it  was  generally  believed 
that  America  and  England  were  being  rapidly  converted  to 
Hinduism.  There  was  no  limit  to  the  thousands  of  disciples 
with  which  the  Svami  was  credited. 

He  at  once  set  about  organizing  regular  work.  Two  monas 
teries  were  opened,  one  at  Belur,  near  Calcutta,  the  other  at 
Mayavati  on  the  Himalayas,  near  Almora.  These  monas 
teries  are  meant  to  receive  young  men  who  have  become 
sannyasls  of  the  Ramakrishna  Mission,  as  it  is  called,  and  to 
give  them  a  training  for  their  work.  The  monastery  at  Belur 
near  Calcutta  is  the  headquarters  of  all  the  work.  The 
same  year  one  of  the  most  outstanding  features  of  the  Rama 
krishna  Mission,  its  philanthropic  activity,  was  started.  There 
was  widespread  famine  in  India  then ;  and  Vivekananda  was 
able  to  gather  money,  and  to  organize  a  number  of  enthusi 
astic  followers  at  several  centres  for  the  relief  of  the  famine- 
stricken. 

But  in  1898  Vivekananda's  health  gave  way,  and  he  was 

1  The  New  York  Herald. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD   RELIGIONS       203 

advised  to  go  to  Britain  and  America  for  a  change.  He  and 
Sister  Nivedita  sailed  together.  He  spent  but  a  short  time  in 
England,  and  went  on  to  America.  The  climate  of  California 
helped  his  strength  a  good  deal,  and  he  soon  began  work  again. 
It  was  at  this  time  that  the  Vedanta  Society  was  founded  in 
San  Francisco,  and  also  the  Sdnti  Asrama,  the  Peace  Retreat. 
He  went  to  New  York,  and  founded  the  Vedanta  society 
there.  It  was  then  arranged  that  he  should  attend  the  Con 
gress  of  Religions,  which  was  to  be  held  in  Paris  in  1 900.  After 
attending  the  Congress,  he  returned  to  India,  but  in  very  poor 
health. 

Yet  he  could  not  be  still ;  and,  during  the  next  two  years, 
he  organized  a  good  deal  of  fresh  work.  A  third  monastery 
was  founded,  in  Madras ;  and  centres  of  philanthropic  effort 
were  formed  in  Madras,  Benares  and  in  the  Murshidabad  dis 
trict  of  Bengal.  He  was  deeply  impressed  with  the  need  of 
work  and  self-sacrifice.  He  would  not  deliver  lectures,  but 
did  all  he  could  to  set  men  to  work.1  He  passed  away  rather 
unexpectedly  on  the  4th  of  July,  10,02,  at  the  early  age  of 
forty. 

We  may  grasp  his  message  most  distinctly,  if  we  take  it  in 
four  parts. 

A .  All  religions  are  true  and  good ;   and,  therefore,  every 
man  ought  to  remain  in  his  own  religion. 

B.  God   is   impersonal,   unknowable,    non-moral.     He  is 
manifested  in  the  whole  world,  in  all  men,  in  all  gods  and  in 
all  incarnations.     The  human  soul  is  truly  divine.    All  men 
are  saints.     It  is  a  calumny  and  a  sin  to  say  that  any  human 
being  can  be  guilty  of  sin.     Idolatry  is  a  very  healthy  and 
spiritual  form  of  worship.     Every  particle  of  Hinduism  is  of 
value  and  must  be  retained.     The  reformers  are  mistaken. 
In  trying  to  uproot  the  weeds,  they  are  tearing  up  the  precious 
wheat  also : 

,  114. 


204    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

The  old  ideas  may  be  all  superstition,  but  within  these  masses 
of  superstition  are  nuggets  of  gold  and  truth.  Have  you  dis 
covered  means  by  which  to  keep  that  gold  alone,  without  any 
of  the  dross  ?  l 

C.  Hindu  civilization,  since  it  springs  from  the  oldest  and 
noblest  of  religions,  is  good,  beautiful  and  spiritual  in  every 
part.    The  foreigner  fails  altogether  to  understand  it.    All 
the  criticism  of  European  scholars  is  erroneous,  and  every 
thing  that  missionaries  say  on  the  subject  is  wickedly  slander 
ous.    The  Hindu  nation  is  a  spiritual  nation.     It  has  taught 
the  world  in  the  past,  and  will  yet  teach  the  whole  world  again. 

D.  European  nations  and  Western  civilization  are  gross, 
material,  selfish  and  sensual ;  and  therefore  their  influence  is 
most  seriously  degrading  to  the  Hindu.     It  is  of  the  utmost 
importance  that  every  Hindu  should  do  all  in  his  power  to 
defend  his  religion  and  civilization,  and  save  Hindu  society 
from  the  poison  of  Western  influence.     Yet  the  Hindu  re 
quires  to  use  Western  methods  and  Western  education.    Nay, 
the  Hindu  must  even  give  up  his  vegetarianism,  and  become  a 
meat-eater,  it  may  be  a  beef-eater,  in  order  to  become  strong, 
and  build  up  a  powerful  civilization  once  more  on  the  soil  of 
India. 

Vivekananda  has  no  historical  conscience  whatsoever.  He 
is  ready  to  re-write  the  whole  history  of  antiquity  in  a  para 
graph,  to  demonstrate  in  a  sentence  that  China,  in  the  East, 
and  Greece  and  Rome,  in  the  West,  owed  all  their  philosophi 
cal  acumen  and  every  spiritual  thought  they  had  to  the 
teachers  of  ancient  India.  He  learned  the  appeal  to  history 
from  his  Western  education;  but  there  is  not  the  faintest 
reflection  in  his  writings  of  the  accuracy  and  careful  research 
which  are  the  very  life-breath  of  modern  scholarship. 

He  exercised  a  fine  influence  on  young  India  in  one  direc 
tion.  He  summoned  his  fellow-countrymen  to  stand  on  their 

1  My  Master,  13. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       205 

own  feet,  to  trust  themselves  and  to  play  the  man ;  and  his 
words  were  not  without  fruit. 

It  is  striking  to  note  the  harvest  that  appeared  in  Vivek 
ananda  from  the  seed  sown  by  his  master  Ramakrishna. 
The  latter  dropped  every  moral  restriction  when  thinking  of 
God  and  his  manifestations.  Vivekananda  frankly  drew  the 
natural  inference :  "sin  is  impossible ;  there  is  no  such  thing 
as  human  responsibility;  man  can  do  no  wrong."  Rama- 
krishna's  indiscriminate  acceptance  and  uncritical  defence  of 
everything  Hindu  expanded  in  his  disciple  into  unbounded 
laudation  of  everything  Indian ;  and,  while  Vivekananda 
himself  bears  witness  that  his  master  was  genial  and  kindly, 
and  condemned  no  one,  the  disciple,  not  unnaturally,  was  led 
by  his  unmixed  praise  of  everything  Hindu  to  the  most  violent 
and  unjust  condemnation  of  everything  Western. 

The  final  outcome  of  Vivekananda's  teaching  will  be  dis 
cussed  in  another  connection.1 

7.  Vivekananda's  English  disciple,  Sister  Nivedita,  settled 
in  a  small  Hindu  house  in  the  northern  part  of  Calcutta,  and 
lived  there  a  life  of  simple  service  for  several  years,  visiting  the 
Hindu  homes  around  about  her,  conducting  a  school  for  girls 
in  her  own  house,  and  leading  young  Hindus  into  practical 
service.  She  was  a  woman  of  deep  romantic  feeling  and  of 
considerable  literary  power.  She  readily  picked  up  her  mas 
ter's  method  of  glorifying  Hinduism  and  Hindu  life,  and  far 
exceeded  him.  Her  chief  work,  The  Web  of  Indian  Life,  shows, 
on  the  one  hand,  most  remarkable  sympathy  with  both  the 
ideals  and  the  actualities  of  Hindu  life,  and  proves  to  every 
capable  reader  what  a  priceless  help  towards  interpretation 
sympathy  is,  but,  on  the  other  hand,  contains  such  exaggerated 
language  in  praise  of  Hindu  customs  and  institutions,  that 
many  orthodox  Hindus  have  protested  against  the  book  as 
altogether  untrustworthy  and  as  thoroughly  unhealthy  read- 

1  Below,  pp.  357-8, 


206     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

ing  for  young  Hindus  themselves.  Yet  Sister  Nivedita  had 
her  reward.  Though  her  book  is  unwise,  she  loved  the  Hindu 
people  and  served  them ;  and  they  gave  her  their  love.  At 
her  death,  in  October,  1911,  there  was  an  extraordinary  out 
burst  of  feeling  in  the  Hindu  community  of  Bengal. 

8.  The  work  of  the  Ramakrishna  Mission l  has  grown  slowly 
since  Vivekananda's  death.  There  have  been  no  such  results 
as  one  would  have  expected  to  spring  from  the  unbounded 
enthusiasm  with  which  the  Svaml  was  welcomed,  when  he 
returned  from  America.  He  summoned  his  countrymen  to 
practical  service,  to  self-sacrificing  work  for  India.  Had  the 
myriads  who  acclaimed  him  really  responded  to  his  call,  the 
work  would  soon  have  attained  very  great  dimensions ;  but 
the  truth  is  that  ancient  Hinduism  does  not  teach  the  duty 
of  service  at  all,  and  that  all  that  the  average  educated  Hindu 
wants  is  to  get  somebody  to  assure  him  that  Hinduism  is  as 
good  as  Christianity,  and  that  he  does  not  need  to  become  a 
Christian.  Having  heard  this,  amidst  the  flare  of  trumpets 
with  which  Vivekananda  returned  from  America,  the  average 
man  gave  a  sigh  of  relief,  and  returned  to  his  vegetating  life 
as  an  ordinary  Hindu.  Vivekananda's  call  to  self-sacrificing 
service  was  just  another  of  those  troublesome  appeals  which 
they  had  heard  over  and  over  again  from  the  missionaries 
and  the  Brahma  leaders ;  and  they  paid  no  more  attention 
to  it.  Only  a  few  responded;  and  these  continue  to  carry 
on  the  work.  There  are  now  five  monasteries,  Belur,  near 
Calcutta,  Benares,  Allahabad,  Mayavati,  on  the  Himalayas, 
and  Bangalore.  These  institutions  are  meant  for  the  resi 
dence  and  training  of  sannyasis.  The  whole  mission  is 
governed  from  the  Belur  monastery.  At  Benares,  Hardwar, 
Allahabad  and  Brindaban,  the  four  chief  centres  of  Hindu 
pilgrimage,  permanent  charitable  institutions,  called  Sevd- 
srams,  Homes  of  Service,  have  grown  up.  Care  for  the  poor 
1  It  is  described  in  the  Hindoo  Patriot,  October  14,  1912. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD   RELIGIONS       207 

and  medical  relief  are  their  chief  activities.  Educational 
work  is  also  attempted  in  a  few  places ;  and  the  mission  is 
sensitive  to  need  and  ready  to  help,  when  distress  arises 
through  famine,  plague  or  flood.  There  is  a  desire  in  the  mis 
sion  to  build  up  a  large  educational  activity,  but  this  has  not 
yet  been  found  possible.  Vivekananda  wished  to  combine 
Western  and  Hindu  education. 

The  founder  of  the  Ramakrishna  Mission,  Svami  Vivek 
ananda,  had  his  own  ideal  of  national  education.  For,  to  him, 
as  is  evident  from  his  Indian  utterances,  the  national  ideal  was 
a  thing  already  realized  within.  It  is  claimed  by  many,  like 
the  late  Sister  Nivedita,  that  he  was  the  first  representative  of 
the  synthetic  culture  which  India  must  evolve,  if  she  is  to  live.1 

Vivekananda's  influence  still  lives  in  America.  There  are 
societies  that  teach  Hinduism  in  various  ways  in  New  York, 
Boston,  Washington,  Pittsburg  and  San  Francisco.  His 
influence  seems  to  be  far  stronger  in  San  Francisco  than  any 
where  else.  There  is  a  picturesque  Hindu  Temple  there,  in 
which  classes  are  held  and  addresses  given,  and  the  literature 
of  the  mission  sold.  They  have  a  little  monthly  magazine, 
called  the  Voice  of  Freedom.  Two  Svamis  are  in  charge. 
There  are  three  lectures  every  Sunday;  and  classes  for  the 
study  of  the  Gtta,  the  Upanishads  and  Yoga  are  held  on  week 
days. 

Vivekananda  started  several  magazines,  which  are  still 
published  in  India.  The  Brahmavadin,  which  is  published  in 
Madras,  and  the  Prabuddha  Bharata,  which  is  published  at 
Mayavati  in  the  Himalayas,  are  both  in  English,  and  contain 
a  good  deal  of  useful  matter  on  Hindu  philosophy.  A 
Bengali  monthly,  named  Udbodhan,  is  published  in  Calcutta. 
Books  written  by  Vivekananda  during  his  lifetime,  and  a 
few  others,  published  by  other  members  of  the  mission  since 
then,  are  sold  in  the  various  centres. 

1  The  Hindoo  Patriot,  October  14,  1912,  p.  7. 


208     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

LITERATURE.  —  LIFE  :  Ramakrishna,  His  Life  and  Sayings,  by 
F.  Max  Miiller,  London,  Longmans,  1910,  55.  (This  book  con 
tains  the  best  biography,  and  also  a  collection  of  his  sayings.)  Gospel 
of  Sri  Ramakrishna,  according  to  M.  (i.e.  Prof.  M.  N.  Gupta),  Part 
I,  Madras,  Ramakrishna  Mission,  1912,  Rs.  2-8.  (A  picture  of 
Ramakrishna's  life  with  his  disciples  and  his  teaching:  see  above, 
p.  194.)  My  Master  (a  lecture),  by  Swami  Vivekananda,  Calcutta, 
Udbodhan  Office,  1911,  8  as.  VIVEKANANDA:  Swami  Vivek 
ananda,  His  Life  and  Teachings,  Madras,  Natesan,  4  as. 
Speeches  and  Writings  of  Swami  Vivekananda.  Madras,  Natesan, 
Rs.  2.  NIVEDITA  :  Sister  Nivedita,  A  Sketch  of  her  Life  and  Her 
Services  to  India,  Madras,  Natesan,  4  as.  The  Web  of  Indian 
Life,  by  Sister  Nivedita,  London,  Heinemann,  55.  An  account  of  the 
Ramakrishna  Mission  appeared  in  the  Hindu  Patriot  of  October,  1912. 

3.  THEOSOPHY 

Theosophy  is  a  system  of  religion,  science  and  practical  life, 
first  taught  by  Madame  Blavatsky,  and  incorporated  in  a 
society  founded  by  her  and  Colonel  Olcott  in  New  York  in 
1875,  but  carried  much  farther  by  Mrs.  Besant  and  C.  W. 
Leadbeater  in  recent  years.  It  purports  to  be  the  final  truth 
of  the  universe,  taught  in  different  lands  and  at  different  times 
by  various  founders  of  religion  and  teachers  of  philosophy,  but 
revealed  anew  to  Madame  Blavatsky  by  certain  Masters,  or 
Mahatmas  (i.e.  Great  Souls),  said  to  live  in  Tibet  and  else 
where.  The  system  and  the  society  are  both  of  great  interest 
because  of  the  large  literature  which  has  sprung  from  the 
movement,  and  the  very  remarkable  growth  of  the  society  in 
many  parts  of  the  world. 

The  attempt  to  write  an  unvarnished  account  of  Theosophy 
is  beset  by  a  number  of  tantalizing  difficulties.  No  trust 
worthy  history  of  the  movement,  no  reliable  biography  of 
the  foundress,  is  in  existence.  Theosophic  accounts  both  of 
Madame  Blavatsky's  life  and  of  the  history  of  the  society 
are  extremely  unreliable.1  Colonel  Olcott  and  other  leaders 
1  See  Appendix,  p.  447  ff. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD   RELIGIONS       209 

of  the  movement  themselves  tell  us  with  the  utmost  frankness 
that  Madame  Blavatsky  was  a  liar,  that  she  told  lies  at  any 
time,  both  in  fun  and  in  earnest.1  This  habit  of  hers  issued  in 
two  extraordinary  myths,  the  story  of  the  pretended  Mahat- 
mas  in  Tibet  and  their  communications  to  her,2  and  the  legend 
of  her  own  virginity.3  Since  1879  and  1885,  respectively,  these 
two  myths  have  very  seriously  contaminated  Theosophic 
literature.  Every  statement  has  to  be  checked  by  reference 
to  other  documents  and  authorities. 

Fortunately,  after  her  death,  a  number  of  letters,  which  she 
had  written  to  two  well-known  Russian  men  of  letters  be 
tween  1874  and  1886,  were  published  in  Russia,  and  shortly 
afterwards  were  translated  into  English.  These  give  us  a  great 
many  peeps  into  her  life.  The  first  of  these  correspondents 
was  M.  A.  N.  Aksakoff,  editor  of  the  Leipzig  Psychische  Studien, 
who  had  long  taken  an  interest  in  every  kind  of  psychical 
question.  Her  letters  to  him  run  from  the  28th  of  October,  1874, 
to  the  6th  of  November,  187 7,  and  there  are  a  few  from  1879  also. 
Her  second  Russian  correspondent  was  M.  V.  S.  Solo vy off, 
whose  acquaintance  she  made  in  Paris  in  May,  1884.  Her 
numerous  letters  to  him  all  fall  between  that  date  and  the 
spring  of  1886.  There  is  not  the  slightest  question  about  the 
genuineness  of  these  letters.  They  appeared  originally  in  a 
series  of  articles,  entitled  A  Modern  Priestess  of  I  sis,  by  M. 
Solovyoff  in  a  Russian  magazine.  Madame  Blavatsky's 
sister,  Madame  Jelihovsky,  denied  several  of  M.  Solovyoff's 
own  statements,  but  she  did  not  challenge  the  authenticity  of 
any  of  the  documents  which  he  had  reproduced.  The  articles 
were  published  in  book-form  in  Russia ;  and  the  book  was  then 
translated  into  English  by  Mr.  Walter  Leaf.  Whoever 
wishes  to  understand  Madame  Blavatsky  ought  to  read  this 
brilliant  and  reliable  work.  We  shall  not  use  anything  chal- 

1  Hints  on  Esoteric  Theosophy,  No.  i ;  ODL.,  I,  264-5. 

2  P.  227,  below.  3  P.  260,  below. 
P 


210     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

lenged  by  Madame  Jelihovsky,  and  indeed  shall  rely  almost 
entirely  on  the  letters. 

Similarly,  for  later  periods,  documentary  evidence  which 
enables  the  student  to  get  somewhat  nearer  the  facts,  has 
become  available  in  various  ways.  Thus,  the  full  exposure 
of  Judge  would  have  been  quite  impossible,  had  it  not  been 
that  one  of  the  officials  of  the  society,  disgusted  at  the  course 
of  events,  resigned,  and  then  handed  over  copies  of  all  the 
incriminating  documents  for  publication ; 1  and,  in  the  Al 
cyone  trials  in  Madras,2  Mrs.  Besant  inadvertently  handed 
over  to  the  prosecution  a  bundle  of  letters  written  by  Mr. 
Leadbeater,  which  threw  much  light  on  certain  events. 

It  is  very  unfortunate  that,  at  present,  so  far  as  I  can 
make  out,  there  is  no  scholar  in  England  or  America,  outside 
the  Theosophic  circle  itself,  who  has  made  any  serious  study 
of  the  literature  and  history  of  Theosophy.  Hodgson, 
Coleman  and  SolovyofT  are  dead ;  and  every  scholar  to 
whom  I  have  spoken  on  the  subject  has  said  that  the 
quality  of  Theosophic  literature  has  altogether  driven  him 
away  from  the  subject.  This  is  greatly  to  be  regretted. 

I  have  had  interviews  with  scores  of  people  who  are, 
or  who  were,  Theosophists,  and  have  learned  much  from 
them ;  but  it  is  harder  to  get  information  of  a  helpful  and 
reliable  kind  from  Theosophists  than  from  members  of  any 
other  religious  movement  I  have  dealt  with,  except  possibly 
the  Radha  Soamis ;  and  the  pledge  of  secrecy  exacted  from 
those  who  join  the  Esoteric  School  makes  it  impossible  to 
get  light  on  Theosophic  methods  of  occultism.  I  have 
learnt  most  of  all  from  a  few  individuals  who  were  once  at 
the  centre  of  things,  but  are  now  outside.  Some  have 
returned  to  Christianity,  but  most  retain  a  larger  or  smaller 
amount  of  Theosophic  belief. 

I  have  been  seriously  hampered  in  writing  my  account 
1  See  p.  270,  below.  2  See  pp.  276-7,  below. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       211 

of  Theosophy  for  want  of  space.    An  adequate  outline  of  its 
history  would  fill  the  whole  volume. 

Madame  Blavatsky 

1.  Helena  Petrovna  was  born  on  the  i2th^o£ August,  1831, 
the  daughter  of  Col.  Peter  Halm,  a  member  of  a  German 
family  settled  in  Russia.     She  was  connected  with  a  number 
of  the  best  Russian  families.     From  her  childhood  she  seems 
to  have  been  a  medium.     Spiritualistic  phenomena  are 
said  to  have  constantly  attended  her.1    In  18.3.8,  when  she 
was  but  seventeen,  she  married  N.  V.  Blavatsky,  a  Russian 
official,  a  man  a  good  deal  older  than  herself,2  but  ran  away 
from  him  three  months  after  the  marriage. 

2.  Of  her  life  from  1848  to  1872  we  have  no  connected  and 
reliable  account.     It  is  clear  that  she  travelled  a  great  deal 
in  many  lands,  but  both  dates  and  places  are  altogether 
doubtful.    Two    facts,    however,    are    absolutely  certain, 
both  of  great  importance. 

The  first  of  these  is  that  for  many  years  she  lived  a  very 
wild  and  evil  life.  Her  relatives  in  Russia  knew  quite  well 
the  kind  of  life  she  led.  M.  Aksakoff  wrote  in  the  a,utumn 
of  1874,  to  Andrew  Jackson  Davis,  an  American  journalist, 
interested  in  spiritualism : 

J'ai  entendu  parler  de  Madame  Blavatsky  par  un  de  ses 
parents,  qui  la  dit  un  medium  assez  fort.  Malheureusement 
ses  communications  ressentent  de  son  moral  qui  n'a  pas  etc 
des  plus  severes.3  (I  have  heard  Madame  Blavatsky  spoken 
of  by  one  of  her  relatives,  who  said  she  was  rather  a  powerful 
medium.  Unfortunately  her  communications  bear  marks  of 
her  morality,  which  has  not  been  of  the  severest  type.) 

1  Sinnett,  Incidents,  33-37  (edition  of  1913);  Aksakoff  in  MPL,  227. 

2  According  to  her  story,  he  was  nearer  seventy  than  sixty  in  1848  (Sin 
nett,  Incidents,  39),  but  as  he  was  still  alive  in  1892  (MPI.,  116),  she  must 
have  greatly  exaggerated  his  age. 

3  MPL,  227. 


212     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

Mr.  Davis  handed  this  letter  to  Madame  Blavatsky  herself 
to  translate.  Naturally  the  reference  to  her  past  caused 
her  intense  excitement ;  and  she  at  once  wrote  a  letter  to 
M.  AksakofT  from  which  we  give  a  few  sentences : 

Whoever  it  was  told  you  about  me,  they  told  you  the  truth 
in  essence,  if  not  in  detail.  God  only  knows  how  I  have  suffered 
for  my  past.  It  is  clearly  my  fate  to  gain  no  absolution  upon 
earth.  The  past,  like  the  brand  of  the  curse  of  Cain,  has  pur 
sued  me  all  my  life,  and  pursues  me  even  here,  in  America, 
where  I  came  to  be  far  from  it  and  from  the  people  who  knew 
me  in  my  youth.  ...  I  hated  hypocrisy  in  whatever  form 
it  shewed  itself;  ergo,  I  ran  amuck  against  society  and  the 
established  proprieties.  Result :  three  lines  in  your  letter, 
which  have  awakened  all  the  past  within  me  and  torn  open  all 
the  old  wounds.  .  .  . 

I  have  only  one  refuge  left  in  the  world,  and  that  is  the  respect 
of  the  spiritualists  of  America,  who  despise  nothing  so  much  as 
'free  love.' 1 

Later  she  wrote  again : 

I  really  cannot,  just  because  the  devil  got  me  into  trouble 
in  my  youth,  go  and  rip  up  my  stomach  now  like  a  Japanese 
suicide  in  order  to  please  the  mediums.  My  position  is  very 
cheerless ;  simply  helpless.  There  is  nothing  left  but  to  start 
for  Australia  and  change  my  name  for  ever.2 

In  February,  1886,  she  sent  a  document,  headed  "My  Confes 
sion,"  to  M.  Solovyoff,  in  which  the  following  sentences  occur  : 

I  have  already  written  a  letter  to  Sinnett  forbidding  him  to 
publish  my  memoir es  at  his  own  discretion.  I  myself  will 
publish  them  with  all  the  truth.  So  there  will  be  the  truth 
about  H.  P.  Blavatsky,  in  which  psychology  and  her  own  and 
others'  immorality  and  Rome  and  politics  and  all  her  own  and 
others'  filth  once  more  will  be  set  out  to  God's  world.  I  shall 
conceal  nothing.  It  will  be  a  Saturnalia  of  the  moral  depravity 

1  MPL,  228,  229,  230.     Cf.  also  her  later  letters,  233,  268. 

2  76.,  268. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       213 

of  mankind,  this  confession  of  mine,  a  worthy  epilogue  of  my 
stormy  life.1 

Her  sister,  Madame  Jelihovsky,  also  spoke  and  wrote  to 
M.  Solo vy off  quite  frankly  on  the  subject.2  Amongst  her 
letters  to  Madame  Coulomb  3  was  one  consisting  of  twelve 
closely  written  quarto  pages,  giving  a  detailed  account  of  her 
life  from  1851  to  1875.  She  spoke  of  it  as  a  page  which  she 
wished  to  see  "  torn  out  of  the  book  "  of  her  life.  For  some 
considerable  time  she  lived  with  a  man  named  Metrovitch, 
and  was  known  as  Madame  Metrovitch.  There  was  also 
a  boy  whom  she  acknowledged  as  her  son  for  several  years ; 
but  in  1885,  when  she  created  the  virginity  myth,  she  told 
a  new  and  wonderful  tale  about  him.4  There  is  thus  the 
most  irrefragable  evidence  that  she  lived  a  very  immoral 
life  for  many  years. 

The  other  fact  which  stands  out  clear  in  these  years  is 
that  in  1358  she  returned  to  Russia  for  some  time,  and  that 
spiritualistic  phenomena  followed  wherever  she  went.5 

3.  From  1872  onward  we  can  trace  her  life  in  outline 
without  much  difficulty.  Some  part  of  that  year  she  spent 
in  Cairo,  endeavouring  to  make  a  livelihood  by  giving  spirit 
ualistic  seances.  There,  she  met  an  Englishwoman  who 
later  married  a  Frenchman,  named  M.  Coulomb.  This 
lady  went  to  one  of  the  seances,  in  the  hope  of  hearing  the 
voice  of  a  dearly  loved  brother  who  had  just  died.  The 
spirit-show  was  a  complete  failure,  but  the  two  women 
became  friends.  Madame  Blavatsky  was  in  great  need 
of  money,  and  the  Englishwoman  gave  her  a  loan, 
which  she  was  unable  to  repay  during  her  stay  in 
Egypt.  In  1884,  when  the  Coulomb  letters  made  these 
facts  public,6  Madame  Blavatsky  denied  them,  but  her 

1  MPL,  181.  2  /&.,  193,  195,  202. 

8  See  below,  p.  239;  also  Proceedings,  IX,  314-5.  *  MPI.,  141. 

6  Sinnett,  Incidents,  chaps.  III-VI.  6  See  below,  p.  239. 


214    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

own  correspondence  shews  clearly  that  the  seances  were 
held  and  proved  a  failure.1  A  paragraph  also  appeared  in 
The  Medium  for  April  26,  1872,  inviting  mediums  ready 
for  engagements  to  apply  to  Madame  Blawatsky  (sic)  in 
Cairo. 

On  the  7th  of  July,  1873,  she  arrived  in  New  York,  and 
settled  down  there.  In  her  first  letter  to  M.  Aksakoff, 
written  on  the  28th  of  October,  1874,  she  said : 

I  have  been  living  in  America  for  about  a  year  and  a  half, 
and  have  no  intention  of  leaving.2 

She  continued  to  reside  in  the  States  until  the  end  of  187$, 
becoming  a  naturalized  citizen  in  the  interval.  Clearly 
there  was  some  reason  for  this  decision  to  give  up  her  wan 
dering  life  and  to  settle  down,  not  in  Russia,  but  in  an  alien 
land.  In  her  letters  to  M.  Aksakoff  she  gives  a  clear  intelli 
gible  reason  for  this  policy.  Her  youth  was  now  over; 
she  was  forty-two  years  of  age.  She  wanted  to  escape  from 
the  results  of  her  dissolute  life ;  but  that  was  impossible  in 
Europe,  above  all  in  Russia,  where  her  past  was  so  well 
known.3  So  she  decided  to  go  to  America  "  to  be  far  from  " 
the  curse  of  her  past  life  and  "from  the  people  who  knew" 
her  in  her  youth.4 

No  detailed  account  of  how  she  spent  her  first  fifteen 
months  in  America  has  been  published.  Events  are  clearly 
traceable  only  from  October,  1874,  onwards,  when  she  began 
to  correspond  with  M.  Aksakoff.  But  her  plan  seems  to 
have  been  to  live  by  writing  on  spiritualism,  which  at  that 
time  was  making  a  great  noise  in  America.  It  is  probable 
that  it  was  this  consideration  which  drew  her  to  New  York 
rather  than  to  Melbourne,  Calcutta,  or  some  other  city 
equally  distant  from  the  Russia  which  she  longed  for  but 

1  MPI.,  131.  2  Ib.,  225.  8  Ib.y  228.  4  Above,  p.  212. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       215 

dared  not  approach.  At  any  rate,  she  made  the  acquaint 
ance  of  several  journalists  and  writers,  one  of  whom  was 
Andrew  Jackson  Davis,  who  has  been  already  mentioned, 
and  kept  in  close  touch  with  spiritualism. 

During  the  summer  and  autumn  of  1874.,  a  group  of  people 
interested  in  spiritualism  had  gathered  round  a  family 
named  Eddy,  at  Chittenden  in  the  State  of  Vermont. 
Amongst  those  who  were  there  to  watch  and  to  see  what 
was  to  be  seen  was  Henry  Steel  Olcott,  who  had  served  in 
the  federal  army  during  the  Civil  war  and  bore  the  title 
of  Colonel,  but  who  was  now  a  journalist,  and  had  been 
sent  by  the  New  York  Graphic  to  report  the  happenings  at 
Chittenden.  Thither  went  Madame  Blavatsky ;  and  there, 
in  October,  she  met  Olcott. 

On  the  28th  of  the  same  month,  at  the  advice  of  Davis, 
she  wrote  to  M.  Aksakoff,  telling  him  of  the  great  vogue  of 
spiritualism  in  America,  and  asking  whether  she  might  not 
send  him  for  publication  from  time  to  time  Russian  transla 
tions  of  articles  on  spiritist  subjects  appearing  in  American 
magazines.  The  proposal  was  accepted,  and  the  corre 
spondence  continued  for  some  years.  In  her  first  letter, 
the  boom  in  spiritualism  is  represented  as  very  great,1 
and  the  phenomena  at  Chittenden  are  described  as  most 
wonderful.2 

The  letter  was  scarcely  despatched  when  Aksakoffs 
French  letter  to  Davis  about  Madame  Blavatsky's  character 
already  quoted,3  arrived  ;  and  in  her  reply,  an  extract  from 
which  has  been  also  quoted,  she  declares  that  she  is  a  con 
vinced  spiritualist  and  has  been  such  for  more  than  ten 
years : 

I  am  a  'spiritist'  and  'spiritualist'  in  the  full  significance 
of  the  two  titles.  ...    I  have  now  been  a  spiritist  for  more 
than  ten  years,  and  now  all  my  life  is  devoted  to  the  doctrine. 
1  MPI.,  225.  2  Ibi>  226<  3  Above>  p  2II 


2i6    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

I  am  struggling  for  it  and  trying  to  consecrate  to  it  every  mo 
ment  of  my  life.  Were  I  rich,  I  would  spend  all  my  money  to 
the  last  farthing  pour  la  propagande  de  cette  divine  verite. 
But  my  means  are  very  poor,  and  I  am  obliged  to  live  by  my 
work,  by  translating  and  writing  in  the  papers.1 

In  later  letters  she  wrote : 

I  was  in  deepest  darkness,  but  I  have  seen  the  light,  and  to 
this  light  I  have  given  myself  up  entirely.  Spiritism  is  a 
great  truth,  and  I  will  serve  it  to  the  grave.  .  .  . 

For  spiritism  I  am  ready  to  work  night  and  day,  so  long  as  I 
have  a  morsel  of  bread,  and  that  only  because  it  is  hard  to  work 
when  one  is  hungry.  .  .  . 

I  have  already  sacrificed  myself  for  spiritualism,  and  in 
defence  of  my  faith  and  the  truth  I  am  ready  at  any  moment 
to  lay  my  head  on  the  block.  .  .  .2 

If  you  hear  that  the  sinful  Blavatsky  has  perished,  not  in 
the  bloom  of  years  and  beauty,  by  some  surprising  death,  and 
that  she  has  dematerialised  'for  ever,'  then  you  will  know  that 
it  is  for  spiritualism.  In  thee,  Lord,  do  we  put  our  trust,  and 
we  shall  not  be  confounded  for  ever.  .  .  . 

I  have  quite  ceased  to  get  any  letters  from  my  aunts  and 
sisters ;  they  have  evidently  all  forgotten  me,  and  so  much  the 
better  for  them.  I  am  no  credit  to  them,  to  tell  the  truth. 
I  shall  now  never  go  back  again  to  Russia.  My  father  is  dead, 
nobody  wants  me,  and  I  am  altogether  superfluous  in  the  world. 
Here  I  am  at  least  a  human  being;  there,  I  am  —  Blavatsky. 
I  know  that  everybody  respects  me  here,  and  I  am  needed  for 
spiritualism.  Now  the  spirits  are  my  brothers  and  sisters, 
my  father  and  mother.3 

From  her  letters  it  is  plain  that  Olcott  used  every  possible 
means  to  bring  her  into  notoriety  and  popularity,  raising 
her  to  the  rank  of  Countess,  mixing  her  up  with  "princes, 
boyards  and  imaginary  governors-general,"4  and  making 
her  out  a  second  Livingstone  in  her  travels  in  Africa  and  the 

1  MPL,  228,  229.      2  76. ,  236,  240-1.       3  /&.,  242,  243.       *  Ib.y  244. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       217 

Soudan ; 1  and  she  did  him  a  like  service.  While  the  vogue 
of  spiritualism  lasted,  things  went  well.  Everything  that 
they  wrote  was  widely  read,  and  they  rose  steadily  in  public 
estimation.  There  was  a  spirit  who  was  peculiarly  friendly 
with  her.  Here  is  what  she  says  about  him : 

My  John  King  alone  is  a  sufficient  recompense  for  all ;  he 
is  a  host  in  himself  to  me.  And  yet  they  call  him  the  double 
of  the  medium,  him  and  Crookes's  Katie  King.  What  sort 
of  double  can  he  be  when  the  medium  Williams  is  not  here  at 
all,  but  John  King  in  his  own  person,  with  his  own  black  beard 
and  his  white  Chinese  saucer-upside-down  cap,  going  about 
here  in  America  from  one  medium  to  another,  and  doing  me 
the  honour  of  visiting  me  incessantly,  though  he  has  not  the 
least  resemblance  to  me?  No,  John  King  is  a  personality,  a 
definite,  living,  spiritual  personality.  Whether  devil  or  good 
spirit,  he  is  at  all  events  a  spirit,  and  not  the  medium's  proto 
type." 

Olcott  tells  us  that  she  had  known  John  King  since  1860, 
and  had  seen  him  and  talked  with  him  in  different  countries.3 
But  a  peculiarly  odious  piece  of  fraudulent  spiritism  was 
exposed  early  in  1875,  and  public  interest  in  the  subject 
began  to  die  down.  The  comrades  tried  various  plans  to 
keep  their  hold  on  the  people,  but  it  was  useless.  On  May 
24th,  Madame  Blavatsky  writes : 

Disaster  has  come  upon  us.  Dr.  Child  has  appeared  in  the 
character  of  the  spiritist  Antichrist,  and,  as  the  Judas  of  the 
seven  councils,  has  destroyed  spiritualism.  Even  the  most 
advanced  spiritualists  begin  to  be  afraid  of  public  opinion,  and 
their  'high  respectability'  induces  many  to  continue  to  believe 
in  spirits  in  secret  only,  and  privately.  .  .  . 

I  am  ready  to  give  my  life  for  the  spread  of  the  sacred  truth. 
Olcott  is  helping  me  as  much  as  he  can,  both  with  his  pen  and 
with  pecuniary  sacrifices  for  the  cause.  He  is  as  passionately 

1  Ib.,  245.  2  75 1>  243     Q  aiso  247;  2S3>  254> 

3  People  from  the  Other  World,  454. 


2i8    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

devoted  to  spiritism  as  I  am.  But  he  is  far  from  rich  and  has 
nothing  to  live  on  but  his  literary  labours,  and  he  has  to  keep  a 
wife  and  a  whole  lot  of  children. 

Olcott  is  sitting  on  heaps  of  his  People  from  the  Other  World, 
like  Marius  on  the  ruins  of  Carthage,  and  thinking  bitter  things. 
Not  a  thousand  copies  of  his  book  have  been  sold  in  five  months.1 

On  the  1 8th  of  July  she  writes  again : 

Here,  you  see,  is  my  trouble,  to-morrow  there  will  be  nothing 
to  eat.  Something  quite  out  of  the  way  must  be  invented.  It 
is  doubtful  if  Olcott's  '  Miracle  Club '  will  help ;  I  will  fight  to 
the  last.2 

Things  were  in  a  very  bad  way.  Spiritualism  was  worked 
out,  and  the  partners  were  threatened  with  want.  Some 
new  source  of  income  had  to  be  found.  The  Miracle  Club 
was  clearly  meant  to  be  something  new  and  startling  to 
catch  public  attention.  But  it  did  not  succeed.  Her  letter 
of  the  loth  September  is  still  very  despondent. 

4.  Such  were  the  circumstances  in  which  the  Theosophi- 
cal  Society  was  founded.  Colonel  Olcott  gives  us  the  dates 
and  the  steps  in  the  following  passage : 

The  formation  of  such  a  society  was  suggested  by  myself 
on  the  evening  of  September  yth,  1875,  in  the  rooms  of  Madame 
Blavatsky,  at  46  Irving  Place,  New  York  City,  where  a  small 
gathering  of  her  friends  had  assembled  to  listen  to  a  discourse 
by  a  Mr.  G.  H.  Felt  on  the  lost  canon  of  proportion  of  the  Ancient 
Egyptians.  My  views  as  to  the  necessity  of  such  a  society 
were  embodied  in  a  short  impromptu  address  and,  receiving 
general  assent,  a  motion  was  made  by  Mr.  W.  Q.  Judge  and 
adopted,  nem.  con.,  that  I  be  elected  chairman  of  the  meeting, 
and  on  my  motion  Mr.  Judge  was  elected  secretary.  A  com 
mittee  to  frame  Bye-laws  was  chosen.  A  report  of  the  proceed 
ings  including  a  digest  of  my  little  speech,  was  published  in  a 
local  daily  paper,  copied  into  the  Spiritual  Scientist,  of  Boston, 
and  thence  transferred  by  Mrs.  E.  H.  Britten  into  her  large 

1  MPI.,  251, 250,  252.  2  /&.,  253. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       219 

work,  "Nineteenth  Century  Miracles"  (p.  296),  where  the 
curious  reader  may  find  it  in  detail.  No  previous  consulta 
tion  had  been  held  about  the  matter  between  Madame  Blavatsky 
and  myself  or  any  body  else ;  the  suggestion  was  entirely  unpre 
meditated  and  grew  out  of  the  discussion  provoked  by  Mr. 
Felt's  lecture.  .  .  . 

On  the  i '/th  November,  the  Society  was  launched  as  a  per 
fected  organization.1 

Olcott  became  President,  Judge  Vice-president,  and 
Madame  Blavatsky  Corresponding  Secretary.  To  her 
friend  in  Russia  Madame  Blavatsky  wrote  on  the  2gth 
of  September : 

Olcott  is  now  organising  the  Theosophical  Society  in  Newr 
York.     It  will  be  composed  of  learned  occultists  and  cabbalists,  • 
of  philosophes  Hermetiques^of  the  nineteenth  century,  and  of  1 
passionate  antiquaries  and  Egyptologists  generally.     We  want  to  * 
make  an  experimental  comparison  between  spiritualism  and  the 
magic  of  the  ancients  by  following  literally  the  instructions  of, 
the  old  Cabbalas,  both  Jewish  and  Egyptian.     I  have  for  many  • 
years  been  studying  la  philosophic  Hermetique  in  theory  and1 
practice,  and  am  every  day  coming  to  the  conclusion  that  spirit 
ualism  in  its  physical  manifestations  is  nothing  but  the  Python 
of  Paracelsus,   i.e.,   the  intangible   ether  which   Reichenbach' 
calls  Od.     The  Pythonesses  of  the  ancients  used  to  magnetise 
themselves  —  read  Plutarch  and  his  account  of   the   oracular ,' 
currents,  read  Cornelius  Agrippa,  Paracelsus,  the  Magia  Ada-; 
mica  of  Eugenius  Philalethes,  and  others.     You  will  always  see  • 
better,  and  can  communicate  with  the  spirits  by  this  means1 — » 
self-magnetisation.2 

On  December  6th  she  wrote  : 

It  is  the  same  spiritualism,  but  under  another  name.  Now 
you  will  see  if  we  shall  not  start  the  most  learned  investigations. 
Our  vice-treasurer,  Newton,  is  a  millionare,  and  president  of 
the  New  York  spiritualists.3 

1  A  Historical  Retrospect,  2. 

2  MPI.,  256-7.  «  Ib.t  265. 


220    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

These  are  most  instructive  paragraphs.  It  is,  above 
all,  to  be  noted  that  the  purpose  of  the  Theosophical  Society 
is  "to  make  an  experimental  comparison  between  spiritual 
ism  and  the  magic  of  the  ancients."  There  is  as  yet  no 
mention  of  Buddhism  or  Hinduism.  There  is  no  sugges 
tion  that  the  foundress  receives  her  wisdom  in  ample  meas 
ure,  without  trouble,  through  "Masters"  from  the  ancient 
sources.  She  still  struggles  forward  by  experimental  com 
parison  ;  and  her  occult  communications  are  not  with  living 
Masters  in  Tibet,  but  with  the  spirits  of  the  dead.  "Ma- 
hatma  Morya"  has  not  yet  appeared  above  the  horizon. 
"John  King"  is  still  "  the  Master  of  her  dreams. "  1 

The  facts  are  simple  and  natural.  Madame  Blavatsky 
had  been  a  medium  from  childhood,  and  had  practised 
spiritualism  since  1858,  if  not  from  an  earlier  date,  though 
it  does  not  appear  that  she  ever  worked  as  a  hired  medium. 
She  started  a  spiritualist  show  in  Cairo  in  1872.  She  lived 
by  spiritualist  writing,  and  made  the  most  serious  protesta 
tions  of  belief  in  spiritualism  from  1873  to  September,  1875. 
The  Miracle  Club  and  the  Theosophic  Society  were  succes 
sive  attempts  to  start  something  new  and  successful,  when 
public  interest  in  spiritualism  declined.  Theosophical 
doctrine  at  a  later  date  became  a  blend  of  Buddhism,  Hin 
duism  and  various  forms  of  occultism ;  but,  when  first 
launched,  it  was  merely  an  addition  of  the  magic  and  mys 
ticism  of  Egypt  and  of  mediaeval  Judaism  to  spiritualism, 
with  a  view  to  stimulating  the  jaded  appetite  of  the  people 
of  New  York. 

It  is  clear  that  she  had  been  interested  to  some  extent  in 
all  these  mysterious  things  for  years.  She  was  a  woman  of 
most  unusual  temperament,  possessing  the  powers  of  the 
medium,  the  clairvoyant,  the  clairaudient  and  probably  also 
of  the  automatic  writer.  She  had  met  "Eliphaz  Levy"  in 
1  MPL,  254.  See  below,  p.  447. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       22 1 

Paris ;  and  she  had  probably  given  some  attention  to  jug 
gling,  devil-dancing  and  such  like  in  Egypt  and  the  East. 
The  following  sentences  are  probably  quite  reliable.  We 
should  not  have  had  this  curious  passage  in  her  letters  at 
all,  had  it  not  been  that  her  correspondent  took  in  the 
American  papers,  and  she  felt  she  must  apologize  once 
more  for  Colonel  Olcott's  outrageous  exaggerations  : 

In  a  detailed  account  of  the  story  of  Katie  King  Olcott 
makes  out  of  me  something  mysteriously  terrible,  and  almost 
leads  the  public  to  suspect  that  I  have  either  sold  my  soul 
to  the  devil  or  am  the  direct  heiress  of  Count  Germain  and 
Cagliostro.  Do  not  believe  it ;  I  have  merely  learnt  in  Egypt 
and  Africa,  in  India  and  in  the  East  generally,  a  great  deal 
of  what  other  people  do  not  know.  I  have  made  friends  with 
dervishes,  and  I  do  indeed  belong  to  one  mystic  society,  but 
it  does  not  follow  that  I  have  become  an  Apollonius  of  Tyana 
in  petticoats.1 

She  now  began  to  study  modern  works  on  occultism  seri 
ously.  About  the  same  time  she  began  to  draw  away  from 
her  old  full  belief  in  spiritualism  and  to  hint  that  it  was  not 
spirits,  but  merely  "  shells"  that  caused  the  marvels.  This 
theory  comes  from  "  Eliphaz  Levy."  He  taught  that  when 
a  man  dies,  the  spirit  departs  completely,  leaving  behind 
in  this  world  only  an  empty  "  shell,"  which,  however,  has 
the  power  of  producing  phenomena. 

Five  months  before  the  foundation  of  the  Theosophical 
Society,  on  the  third  of  April,  1875,  Madame  Blavatsky 
married  in  Philadelphia  an  Armenian,  a  Russian  subject, 
named  Michael  Bettalay.2  Yet  N.  B.  Blavatsky  was  still 

1  MPI.,  246-7.    The  date  is  the  i2th  of  April,  1875. 

2  The  account  of  this  marriage  given  by  Olcott  in  ODL.,  I,  54-57,  having 
been  written  after  the  creation  of  the  virginity  myth  (see  below,  p.  260), 
cannot  be  trusted.    He  is  wrong  even  with  the  date.     Solovyoff  (MPI., 
165)  tells  how  Madame  once  described  the  match  to  him.      For  the  end  of 
the  marriage  see  below,  p.  226. 


222    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

alive ;  and  there  had  been  no  divorce.  It  was  a  case  of 
bigamy  pure  and  simple.  Doubtless  she  said  she  was  a 
widow;  for  she  practised  that  piece  of  deceit  for  many 
years.  She  put  down  her  age  in  the  marriage-register  as 
thirty-six,  while  she  was  actually  forty- three.1 1- 

The  new  society  was  scarcely  started  when  serious  trouble 
arose  from  her  old  spiritualist  allies ;  for  they  felt  that  she 
was  faithless  to  them.  She  had  publicly  declared  that  the 
spirits  had  brought  her  a  medal  and  clasp  from  her  father's 
grave,  and  Olcott  had  published  in  his  People  from  the 
Other  World  a  drawing  of  the  medal  and  clasp.  This  en 
abled  the  medium  Home  to  trace  her  antecedents  and  to 
obtain  information  about  her  private  life.  He  had  also 
got  to  the  bottom  of  some  of  her  fraudulent  spiritualistic 
phenomena.  He  then  attacked  her  publicly  on  both 
counts.2 

The  new  society  went  fairly  well  for  a  time,  and  then  in 
terest  steadily  waned.  Yet  the  comrades  held  on,  never 
allowing  the  organization  to  fall  to  pieces.3 

5.  For  two  years  Madame  Blavatsky  toiled  at  her  new 
studies,  and  on  the  2nd  of  October,  1877,  her  Isis  Unveiled 
was  published.  It  is  a  really  noteworthy  book,  and  that  for 
two  reasons.  First,  it  was  the  earliest  vigorous  attempt 
made  to  defend  the  ancient  religions  against  the  harsh 
judgments  still  only  too  common  at  the  time.  Secondly, 
it  took  up  a  striking  attitude  to  that  great  shady  border 
land  which  lies  between  jugglery  and  religion.  Everything 
mysterious,  weird,  occult  or  magical,  the  unexplored  powers 
of  the  human  mind,  and  all  suggestive,  or  symbolic  words, 
acts  or  things,  had  an  overpowering  fascination  for  her.  It 

x  I  owe  the  facts  in  the  text  to  Mr.  W.  Irving  Lewis  of  the  Young  Men's 
Christian  Association  of  Philadelphia,  who  did  me  the  great  kindness  of 
searching  the  public  records  and  copying  out  the  details. 

2  MPL,  267-8.  3  A  Historical  Retrospect,  3. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       223 

is  also  clear  that  at  a  fairly  early  date  she  began  to  realize, 
in  a  more  or  less  hazy  way,  certain  facts  which  science  has 
only  recently  perceived  and  acknowledged.  The  most  im 
portant  of  these  are  (a)  that  spiritualism,  clairvoyance, 
hypnotic  trances,  faith-healing  and  many  of  the  phenomena 
of  dreams  and  apparitions  are,  in  essentials,  identical  with 
practices  and  occurrences  which  are  vouched  for  in  the 
literature  of  Classical  and  early  Christian  times,  and  with 
much  which  happens  among  modern  savages ;  (b)  that  a 
considerable  proportion  of  the  marvels  are  genuine,  whatever 
the  ultimate  explanation  of  their  reality  may  be;  and 
(c)  that  those  who  make  such  practices  their  profession 
sooner  or  later  have  recourse  to  fraud.1  In  the  Isis  these 
questions  are  not  raised  or  treated  in  any  scholarly  fashion ; 
and  the  evidence,  good,  bad  and  indifferent,  is  simply  thrown 
down  in  indiscriminate  heaps ;  so  that  the  book  as  it  stands 
is  practically  of  no  scientific  value ;  yet  the  personal  know 
ledge  the  authoress  had  of  many  of  the  practices  dealt  with, 
and  her  perception  that  there  was  something  genuine  in 
them,  gave  the  book  a  certain  value,  and  made  it  very  at 
tractive  to  many  people. 

One  of  the  most  notable  characteristics  of  the  book  is  its 
violent  polemic  against  modern  science  and  Christianity. 

The  authoress  so  wrote  as  to  lead  her  readers  to  under 
stand  that  she  was  a  woman  of  vast  learning,  and  that  she 
had  mastered  all  the  great  works  on  occultism  in  existence ; 
while  the  truth  is  that  all  the  learning  it  contains  is  borrowed, 
or  rather  stolen,  from  modern  books;  for  in  most  cases 
there  is  no  acknowledgment.  Mr.  Wm.  Emmette  Coleman 
of  San  Francisco  spent  three  years  in  making  an  exhaustive 
analysis  of  the  contents  of  Madame  Blavatsky's  writings. 
The  following  is  his  statement  with  regard  to  the  Isis: 2 

1  See  art.  Clairvoyance  by  Andrew  Lang  in  ERE. 
•Jf/Y.,354. 


224    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

By  careful  analysis  I  found  that  in  compiling  Isis  about  100 
books  were  used.  About  1,400  books  are  quoted  from  and 
referred  to  in  this  work;  but,  from  the  100  books  which  its 
author  possessed,  she  copied  everything  in  Isis  taken  from  and 
relating  to  the  other  1,300.  There  are  in  Isis  about  2,100  quo 
tations  from  and  references  to  books  that  were  copied,  at  second 
hand,  from  books  other  than  the  original,  and  of  this  number 
only  about  140  are  credited  to  the  books  from  which  Madame 
Blavatsky  copied  them  at  second-hand,  The  others  are  quoted 
in  such  a  manner  as  to  lead  the  reader  to  think  that  Madame 
Blavatsky  had  read  and  utilized  the  original  works,  and  had 
quoted  from  them  at  first-hand,  —  the  truth  being  that  these 
originals  had  evidently  never  been  read  by  Madame  Blavatsky. 

Col.  Olcott  stated  in  the  Theosophist 1  that  Madame  Blavat 
sky 's  library  contained  about  100  books  when  she  wrote 
the  Isis;  so  that  Mr.  Coleman's  critical  judgment  is  con 
firmed.  The  following  is  a  list  of  the  books  from  which  the 
largest  numbers  of  quotations  were  taken  : 2 

PASSAGES 

Dunlap's  Sod:  the  Son  of  the  Man 134 

Ennemoser's  History  of  Magic,  English  Trans 107 

Demonologia 85 

Dunlap's  Spirit  History  of  Man 77 

Salverte's  Philosophy  of  Magic,  English  Trans 68 

Dunlap's  Sod:  the  Mysteries  of  A doni 65 

Des  Mousseaux's  Magie  au  Dix-neuvi^me  Siecle   ....  63 

Des  Mousseaux's  Hants  Phenomenes  de  la  Magie      ...  45 

King's  Gnostics,  ist  edition 42 

Supernatural  religion 40 

Mackenzie's  Masonic  Cyclopaedia       36 

Zeller's  Plato  and  the  Old  Academy 35 

There  are  some  students  who,  while  recognizing  frankly 
that  the  bulk  of  the  Isis  is  built  out  of  materials  from 
modern  works,  are  yet  inclined  to  think  that  it  may  be 
true,  as  was  stated  by  Madame  Blavatsky  and  Col.  Olcott, 

1  April,  1893,  p.  387  f.  2  MPI.,  356. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       225 

that  large  sections  of  the  book  were  written  automatically. 
If  this  be  true,  then  the  explanation  must  be  that  her  sub 
conscious  mind  had  retained  all  that  she  had  read  on  these 
subjects,  and  gave  out  the  materials  when  each  fit  of  auto 
matic  writing  came  on. 

The  book  contains  innumerable  errors,  many  of  them  of 
the  most  rudimentary  type.  The  commonest  Sanskrit 
words  are  misspelt ;  the  Buddhist  doctrine  of  transmigra 
tion  is  grossly  misrepresented ;  and  the  Bhagavadgitd  is 
confused  with  the  Bhdgavata  Pur  ana.  The  following  sen 
tences  give  a  sample  of  the  scholarship  of  the  book : 

Apart  from  the  now-discovered  fact  that  the  whole  story  of 
such  a  massacre  of  the  Innocents  is  bodily  taken  from  the 
Hindu  Bagavedgitta,  and  Brahmanical  traditions,  the  legend 
refers,  moreover,  allegorically  to  an  historical  fact.  King  Herod 
is  the  type  of  Kansa,  the  tyrant  of  Madura.1 

Yet,  to-day,  we  are  asked  to  believe  that  all  this  is  the 
wisdom  of  the  Mahatmas.  When  Madame  Blavatsky  went 
to  India,  an  elaborate  myth  was  created,  to  the  effect  that 
for  many  years  she  had  been  receiving  her  wisdom  from 
these  Masters  in  Tibet.  Thus  all  who  accept  this  myth 
are  compelled  to  explain  the  Isis  as  an  early  exposition  of 
orthodox  Theosophy.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  it  represents  the 
state  of  the  writer's  mind  in  1877 :  it  does  not  teach  the 
doctrine  of  reincarnation ; 2  it  teaches  that  man  is  a  being 
of  a  threefold  nature,  while  the  orthodox  doctrine  makes 
him  sevenfold ;  there  is  no  mention  of  the  great  doctrine 
of  brotherhood ;  and  a  great  deal  of  the  furious  attack  on 
Christianity  is  contrary  to  the  professed  standards  of  to-day. 

6.  About  the  time  when  the  Isis  was  published,  Home's 
Lights  and  Shadows  of  Spiritualism  also  appeared,  and  its 
exposures  of  her  frauds  agitated  her  so  much,  and  influenced 
public  opinion  so  seriously,  that  she  decided  to  leave  Amer- 

1 II,  199.  2  Olcott  acknowledges  this  frankly,  ODL.,  I,  278. 

Q 


226    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

ica  for  ever  and  go  to  India.  Here  is  how  she  wrote  in 
December,  1877,  two  months  after  the  publication  of  the 
I  sis : 

It  is  for  this  that  I  am  going  for  ever  to  India,  and  for  very 
shame  and  vexation  I  want  to  go  where  no  one  will  know  my 
name.  Home's  malignity  has  ruined  me  for  ever  in  Europe.1 

Home's  evidence  must  have  been  irrefragable;  for  Olcott 
did  not  attempt  to  meet  it,  though  asked  to  do  so.2 

In  anticipation  of  their  voyage  to  India,  Olcott  wrote  to  a 
Hindu  friend,  whom  he  had  met  some  time  before  on  a  voy 
age  across  the  Atlantic,  and  through  him  got  into  corre 
spondence  with  Svaml  Dayananda  Sarasvati,  the  founder 
of  the  Arya  Samaj.  As  a  result  of  an  interchange  of  letters, 
the  two  societies  were  connected  the  one  with  the  other. 
This  continued  after  the  Theosophists  reached  India ;  but 
finally  they  separated  in  anger.3 

On  the  25th  of  May,  1878,  Madame  Blavatsky  was  di 
vorced  from  her  Armenian  husband.4  Olcott  says  that  the 
husband  obtained  the  divorce  on  the  ground  of  desertion.5 

7.  In  December,  18^8,  "  the  Theosophical  Twins,"  as 
Madame  Blavatsky  had  named  herself  and  Olcott,  sailed 
from  New  York.  They  arrived  in  Bombay  in  January J 
and  that  city,  for  almost  three  years,  was  the  headquarters 
of  the  society.  Madame  Coulomb  and  her  husband,  who  had 
meantime  lost  all  their  money,  reached  Bombay  late  in  the 
spring  of  1880,  and  were  established  at  headquarters  as 
friends  and  assistants  of  Madame  Blavatsky. 

The  opinions  and  the  teaching  of  the  Twins  now  became 
much  more  distinctively  Indian  than  they  had  been  in 
America.  They  declared  themselves  Buddhists,  and  en 
tered  into  close  relations  with  Buddhism  in  Ceylon. 

The  Theosophic  Myth  also  began  to  take  definite  shape. 

1  MPI.,  278.  2  Ib.,  278.        3  ODL.,  I,  394-407.    Above,  p.  no. 

*  P.  221,  above.      6  ODL.,  I,  57.    Cf .  MPI.,  165. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       227 

They  diligently  taught  the  existence  of  the  Great  White 
Brotherhood  and  their  Lodge  in  Tibet.  The  theory  took 
shape  gradually,  and  some  of  the  more  showy  parts  have 
been  added  only  recently.  The  completed  myth  is  as 
follows:  A  large  number  of  men  have  reached  the  stage 
of  Adepts  in  the  Wisdom ;  and  many  have  become  mem 
bers  of  the  Hierarchy  which  governs  this  world.1  These 
beings  are  far  beyond  death  and  transmigration ;  yet  they 
live  upon  earth,  mostly  in  Tibet;  and  a  few  of  them  are 
willing  to  take  as  apprentices  those  who  have  resolved  to 
devote  themselves  to  humanity.  Since  they  take  pupils, 
they  are  known  as  Masters.  On  account  of  their  great 
ness  they  are  called  Mahatmas,  great  souls.  Madame 
Blavatsky,  we  are  told,  was  selected  from  the  whole  human 
race  in  our  days  to  receive  the  ancient  wisdom  from  these 
Masters.  Her  own  particular  master  was  Mahatma 
Morya;  but  Koot  Hoomi  and  others  were  also  ready  to 
help.  From  them  she  received  Theosophy :  it  was  in  no 
sense  her  own  creation.  As  far  back  as  1851  she  hadrnet 
Mahatma  Morya,  "  the  Master  of  her  dreams"  ;2  she  had 
spent  seven  years  in  unremitting  study  in  Tibet;  and  in 
the  intervening  years  the  wisdom  had  been  poured  into  her 
mind  in  amplest  measure. 

Our  narrative  has  provided  sufficient  disproof  of  the 
myth.  As  late  as  1874  she  was  neither  Buddhist  nor 
Theosophist,  but  a  Spiritualist,  and  was  ready  at  any 
moment  to  lay  her  head  on  the  block  in  defence  of  her  faith.3 
Instead  of  learning  from  a  living  Master,  she  was  the 
confidant  of  a  disembodied  spirit,  John  King.4  Even  when 
the  Theosophical  Society  was  founded,  there  was  no  men 
tion  of  India  but  only  of  the  Kabbala  and  the  Hermetic 
system.5 

1  See  below,  pp.  279-80.       2  P.  447,  below.      3  Pp.  215-6,  above. 
4  P.  217,  above.  «  P.  219,  above. 


228    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

The  two  travelled  a  great  deal  in  various  parts  of  India, 
and  were  usually  received  by  the  Hindu  community  with 
acclamation.  The  society  steadily  grew  in  numbers  and 
popularity,  largely  as  a  result  of  the  new  theory  of  the 
Masters.  For,  wherever  they  went,  miraculous  events, 
which  they  called  "  phenomena,"  appeared;  and  Madame 
Blavatsky  attributed  all  to  her  Masters,  or  to  the  occult 
knowledge  she  had  derived  from  them.  If  some  prominent 
European  were  inquiring  about  Theosophy,  a  letter  from 
Koot  Hoomi  would  be  sure  to  fall  on  his  head.  Telegrams 
from  the  Masters  would  come  tumbling  through  the  air  — 
a  precipitated  "  in  Theosophic  phrase  —  but,  strangely 
enough,  bearing  the  stamp  of  the  British  Telegraph  office. 
The  Masters  shewed  themselves  now  and  then  in  one  of 
their  bodies  to  selected  people.  Lost  articles  were  found, 
and  new  things  arrived  in  unheard-of  ways.  Half  a  cig 
arette,  or  a  lock  of  Madame  Blavatsky's  hair,  would  be 
transported  from  one  place  to  another  by  "  occult"  means. 
Probably  a  percentage  of  the  phenomena  were  genuine, 
as  we  should  expect  in  the  case  of  a  woman  of  Madame 
Blavatsky's  powers;  but  no  carefully  sifted  evidence  has 
ever  been  given  for  any  of  them;  while  evidence  exists 
which  proves  clearly  that  many  of  them  were  fraudulent ; 
and,  as  to  the  Masters,  nothing  worth  the  name  of  evidence 
has  ever  been  produced  for  their  existence.1 

8.  One  of  the  most  famous  occurrences  took  place  at 
Simla.  There  was  a  dinner-party  there  one  evening,  in 
the  house  of  Mr.  A,  0.  Hume,  a  distinguished  Indian 
Civilian,  holding  very  high  office  under  Government. 
After  dinner  it  was  proposed  that  Madame  Blavatsky 
should  give  an  example  of  her  powers.  After  some  talk 
she  asked  Mrs.  Hume  whether  she  had  lost  anything  she 
would  like  very  much  to  recover.  In  reply  she  described 
1  P.  447,  below. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS        229 

a  brooch,  which  some  little  time  before  had  passed  out  of 
the  family.  Madame  Blavatsky  indicated  a  spot  in  the 
garden  where  they  might  look  for  it.  They  looked,  and  the 
brooch  was  found. 

Mr.  and  Mrs.  Hume  accepted  the  occurrence  as  a  genuine 
occult  phenomenon.  It  was  described  in  glowing  terms  in 
the  papers ;  and  it  has  been  continuously  used  by  Theos- 
ophists  ever  since  as  evidence  of  the  truth  of  their  system. 
Yet  the  explanation  is  simple  and  undeniable.  The  truth 
came  out  in  the  following  way : 

The  publication  of  the  incident  in  the  Pioneer  gave  rise  to  a 
good  deal  of  discussion  in  the  daily  papers  of  the  period.  The 
Englishman  pointed  out  a  number  of  awkward  lacunas  in  the 
account  given,  and  was  especially  anxious  to  know  something 
of  the  "person"  who  had  allowed  the  brooch  "to  pass  out  of 
their  possession."  It  remarked  — 

"There  is  nothing  to  show  to  whom  Mrs.  Hume's  friend,  to 
whom  she  had  given  the  brooch,  parted  with  it.  It  might  have 
been  to  some  one  who  had  communicated  the  fact  and  given 
the  brooch  to  Madame.  A  very  slight  hint  in  the  conversation 
might  have  turned  Mrs.  Hume's  thoughts,  almost  uncon 
sciously,  towards  her  lost  brooch,"  etc. 

The  Bombay  Gazette,  of  October  i3th,  1880,  after  noticing 
this  article,  went  on  — 

"We  can  furnish  the  Englishman  with  a  small  item  of  intelli 
gence.  At  the  end  of  last  and  the  commencement  of  this  year, 
a  young  gentleman  who  had  resided  at  Simla  previously,  and 
was,  we  believe,  well  known  to  the  Hume  family,  sojourned  for 
some  months  in  Bombay,  and  was  part  of  the  time  a  guest  of 
Madame  Blavatsky  at  Girgaum.  The  latter  lady's  connection 
with  this  gentleman  may  or  may  not  have  had  anything  to  do 
with  the  affair  of  the  brooch,  though  to  our  mind  it  is  as  prob 
able  as  that  the  presence  of  the  brooch  in  the  flower  bed  was  due 
to  'occult'  phenomena." 

Three  days  later  a  correspondent  of  The  Times  of  India 
wrote  — 

"It  may  interest  some  of  your  readers  on  the  other  side  of 


230   MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

India  to  learn  that  some  months  ago  an  individual  who  had  been 
immediately  connected  with  some  of  the  members  of  Mr.  Hume's 
family  at  Simla  arrived  in  Bombay.  He  was,  I  believe,  hos 
pitably  received  by  Madame  Blavatsky,  if,  indeed,  he  did  not 
spend  some  weeks  at  her  house  in  Girgaum,  and  when  he  left  for 
England  eventually,  the  arrangements  for  his  passage  were  made 
through  the  agency  of  Colonel  Olcott." 

All  this  is  very  suggestive ;  but  still  more  so  is  a  pretty  idyll 
narrated  by  the  Civil  and  Military  Gazette  a  month  or  two 
later : - 

"Once  upon  a  time  a  certain  Daphnis  had  received  as  a  gage 
d'amour  from  his  Chloe,  a  brooch,  an  ancestral  gem,  formerly 
the  property  of  Chloe's  Mamma,  which  probably  poor  Chloe 
considered  would  in  the  course  of  happy  time  revert  to  her 
possession,  when  Daphnis  and  all  that  was  his  should  be  her  own. 
But  the  course  of  true  love  never  did  run  smooth,  and  the  un 
happy  Daphnis,  separated  from  Chloe,  and  driven  by  impe- 
cuniosity,  deposited  his  pretty  gift  with  an  accommodating 
pawn-broker  —  for  a  consideration  —  meaning  doubtless  in 
future  time  to  redeem  the  precious  pledge.  The  trinket  chanced, 
however,  to  attract  the  notice  of  a  very  famous  spiritualist  and 
medium,  a  lady  who  dealt  in  mysteries  of  psychic  force  and 
powers  of  disintegration  and  reintegration  of  matter.  There  is 
nothing  to  prevent  a  spiritualist,  however  magically  endowed, 
from  dealing  also  in  mundane  affairs  after  the  usual  humdrum 
and  worldly  fashion,  and  in  this  instance  the  famous  lady  chose 
to  achieve  the  possession  of  the  object  of  her  fancy  by  the  ordi 
nary  method  of  paying  for  it.  Time  rolled  on,  and  it  happened 
in  the  fulness  thereof  that  the  celebrated  medium  and  Chloe's 
Mamma  became  acquainted,  and  under  some  circumstances, 
which  attained  perhaps  an  undeserved  notoriety,  the  brooch 
became  again  the  property  of  its  original  possessor.1 ' 

Two  further  points  came  out  after  this  account  was  printed. 
Mr.  Hormusji  Seervai,  a  Bombay  jeweller,  saw  an  account 
of  the  miracle  in  the  papers,  and  realized  from  the  descrip 
tion  of  the  brooch  that  he  had  repaired  it  for  Madame 

1  Collapse,  46-7. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD   RELIGIONS       231 

Blavatsky.1  Finally,  the  Rev.  George  Patterson,  when  on  a 
visit  to  Bombay  at  the  end  of  1884,  learned  that  Madame 
Blavatsky  bought  the  pawn-ticket  from  the  young  man 
and  redeemed  the  trinket. 

There  cannot  be  the  slightest  question  as  to  the  truth 
of  the  explanation ;  for  not  one  of  the  facts  has  ever  been  so 
much  as  questioned.  Mr.  Hume  himself  publicly  acknowl 
edged  that  the  famous  phenomenon  was  a  piece  of  well- 
planned  fraud.  Yet  the  Theosophical  Society  still  uses 
this  fraud,  indefensible  and  undefended,  as  an  example  of 
occult  agency.2 

9.  The  Theosophic  conception  of  the  world,  man  and 
religion,  which  is  nowhere  given  in  the  I  sis,  now  gradually 
took  shape.  A  brief  analysis  of  the  system  is  given  below.3 
The  main  channel  through  which  the  fresh  teaching  found 
its  way  to  Theosophists  and  the  public  was  a  series  of  long 
letters,  which  Madame  Blavatsky  averred  were  written  and 
sent  by  the  Master  known  as  Koot  Hoomi.  Parts  of  these 
letters  were  published  by  Mr.  Jinnett,  an  Englishman  who 
was  editor  of  the  Pioneer  and  had  become  a  Theosophist, 
in  his  books,  Esoteric  Buddhism  and  The  Occult  World;  but 
much  of  the  material  was  so  poor  that  it  had  to  be  eliminated 
as  rubbish.4 

The  Occult  World  was  published  in  June,  i&&i.  Mr.  H. 
Kiddle  of  New  York  read  the  volume,  and  discovered  in  one 
of  the  letters  a  long  passage  copied  almost  verbatim  from 
an  address  delivered  by  him  at  Lake  Pleasant,  August  15, 
1880,  and  reported  the  same  month  in  The  Banner  of  Light. 
The  date  of  the  letter  was  two  months  later.  When  this 
was  made  public,  a  ridiculous  reply,  purporting  to  come 

1  Mr.  Hodgson  called  and  learned  the  facts  from  him  personally.    Pro 
ceedings,  IX,  267. 

2  Sinnett's  Occult  World,  pp.  66-79  (eighth  edition,  1906). 

3  P.  278  ff.  «  Proceedings,  IX,  304. 


232    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

from  the  Mahatma,  was  published,  but  no  one  was  de 
ceived.  It  was  a  case  of  deliberate  plagiarism;  and  the 
final  proof  that  it  was  so  is  found  in  the  fact  that  in  the  more 
recent  editions  of  The  Occult  World  the  passage  is  omitted.1 

10.  In  December,  1882,  the  headquarters  of  the  society 
were  moved  to  Adyar,  Madras.  The  Coulombs  went 
along  with  the  rest  of  the  staff.  M.  Coulomb  was  Librarian, 
while  his  wife  was  Assistant  Corresponding  Secretary  of 
the  society.  Besides  that,  Madame  Coulomb  acted  as 
housekeeper,  while  her  husband  took  charge  of  all  repairs 
or  additions  to  the  buildings. 

Madame  Blavatsky  occupied  a  large  upper  room  in 
the  main  bungalow.  See  plan  B  on  page  235.  Early 
in  1883  a  new  room  for  occult  purposes  was  built  against 
the  west  wall  of  her  room.  There  were  two  windows  in  the 
west  wall.  The  south  window,  transformed  into  a  door, 
became  the  ordinary  entrance  into  the  new  room,  which 
was  called  the  Occult  Room.  The  north  window  was 
removed,  and  a  single  layer  of  bricks  filled  up  the  aperture 
on  the  Occult  Room  side,  leaving  a  recess  about  15  in. 
deep  on  the  other  side,  in  Madame  Blavatsky's  bedroom. 
Part  of  the  Occult  Room  was  screened  off  by  means  of  a 
curtain  to  form  a  small  room  for  the  Shrine.  This  was  a 
wooden  cupboard  which,  by  means  of  two  stout  wires,  was 
hung  on  the  wall  over  the  thin  brick  partition  where  the 
north  window  had  been.  In  the  Shrine  was  placed  a  por 
trait  of  the  Master,  Koot  Hoomi.  The  doors  of  the  Shrine 
were  occasionally  thrown  open  to  Theosophists,  that  they 
might  see  the  master's  portrait.  Hindus  bowed  reverently 

1  Let  any  one  compare  pp.  101-2  of  the  third  edition  with  pp.  125-6  of 
the  eighth  edition.  The  plagiarized  passage  begins  at  "Ideas  rule  the 
world,"  and  runs  down  to  "speck  of  dirt."  No  acknowledgment  of  the 
omission  is  made.  I  owe  this  point  to  the  Rev.  John  Hackett  of  Hamp- 
stead.  Cf.  also  what  occurs  on  p.  257,  below. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       233 

before  him  and  burned  incense  to  him.1  Both  Indians  and 
Europeans  were  accustomed  to  present  their  requests  in  the 
form  of  letters.  The  door  would  then  be  shut ;  and,  when  it 
was  re-opened,  a  reply  from  the  Master  would  be  found 
within  it.  On  one  occasion  a  broken  saucer  was  put  in 
beside  him.  When  the  Shrine  was  re-opened,  it  was  found 
intact.  From  this  time  onward  many  of  the  most  striking 
phenomena  were  connected  with  the  Shrine. 

By  the  year  1884  the  Theosophical  Society  had  attained 
great  proportions.  There  were  over  a  hundred  branches  in 
India,  and  Hindus  everywhere  rejoiced  in  its  work.  Nor  is 
their  enthusiasm  hard  to  understand.  Theosophy  provided 
a  new  defence  of  Hinduism  for  the  thousands  of  educated 
men  whose  Western  education  had  filled  them  with  shiver 
ing  doubts  about  their  religion.  It  condemned  Christian 
missionaries  as  impudent  and  ignorant  intruders,  who  dared 
to  criticize  Hinduism  and  Buddhism,  the  two  faiths  which 
alone  among  all  the  religions  of  the  world  still  taught  clearly 
the  truths  of  the  Ancient  Wisdom.  All  the  great  and  good 
of  every  age  had  known  and  taught  this  wisdom ;  but,  while 
it  had  been  lost  or  beclouded  elsewhere,  Hinduism  and  Bud 
dhism  still  retained  its  priceless  principles;  and  in  Tibet 
lived  immortal  teachers  who  were  now,  through  Madame 
Blavatsky,  revealing  the  Wisdom  in  all  its  glory  to  the 
whole  human  race.  Yet  even  this  most  flattering  procla 
mation  would  not  have  won  its  way  as  it  did  apart  from  the 
phenomena.  There  can  be  no  question  that  it  was  these 
marvels  that  trumpeted  the  cause  throughout  India,  and 
convinced  the  Hindu  of  the  truth  of  the  new  propaganda. 

ii.  In  1884  a  great  crisis  in  the  history  of  Theosophy 
occurred.  As  Theosophists  still  assert  that  the  whole  was 
a  missionary  plot,  and  that  Madame  Blavatsky  came  out  of 
it  triumphant,  we  cannot  dismiss  it  in  a  paragraph.  In  order 

1  Cf.  the  Radha  Soamis  and  the  Deva  Samaj,  pp.  170  and  179,  above. 


234    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 
A.  JUDGE'S  PLAN,   ORIGINAL  SIZE 


Shelf. 


Sitting  Boom 


Partition, 


Ward  ro 


'I  Door 


Bed  Room. 


Book. 


Case. 


Occult  Room." 


Desk. 


Sofa. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       235 
B.  HODGSON'S   PLAN,  f  OF  ORIGINAL   SIZE 


236    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

to  place  our  readers  in  a  position  to  judge  for  themselves,  we 
shall  give,  in  as  brief  a  form  as  possible,  an  orderly  outline 
of  the  significant  events  of  the  crisis  and  shall  also  indicate 
where  the  detailed  evidence  produced  on  both  sides  may 
be  seen  and  examined. 

a.  On  the  2ist  of  February,  1884,  Madame  Blavatsky, 
Colonel  Olcott  and  a  young  Calcutta  Brahman,  Mohini 
Mohan  Chatterji,  sailed  from  Bombay  for  Europe.  By 
Madame  Blavatsky's  explicit  instructions,  the  Coulombs 
were  left  in  charge  of  her  rooms  at  the  headquarters,  Madras. 
They  were  to  reside  in  them,  and  to  look  after  her  furniture 
and  dogs.  No  one  was  to  disturb  them.  There  is  the  best 
evidence  possible  for  these  statements.  The  written  in 
structions  have  been  published ; 1  and  the  following  is  a 
letter  written  by  Madame  Blavatsky,  and  printed  in  Dr. 
Hartmann's  pamphlet  published  in  September : 2 

46  RUE  NOTRE  DAME  DES  CHAMPS, 
PARIS, 

April,  2-84. 

She  swore  to  me  that  she  would  take  care  of  my  rooms,  only 
asking  me  to  let  it  be  known  that  she  alone  had  the  right  over  all, 
and  would  have  and  keep  the  key.  Having  told  Dr.  Hartmann 
that  he  was  welcome  to  my  books  and  my  desk  in  my  absence, 
she  made  a  vow  when  alone  with  me,  and  declared  that  if  I 
allowed  one  single  person  to  have  access  to  my  rooms,  she  would 
answer  for  nothing ;  —  that  the  '  shrine '  would  be  desecrated, 
etc.3 

Damodar,  a  Hindu  who  had  become  a  Theosophist  and  was 
one  of  Madame  Blavatsky's  secretaries,  had  the  keys  of  the 
Occult  Room  and  the  Shrine.4  Only  these  three  had  free 
access  to  the  penetralia  at  headquarters.  The  affairs  of  the 
society  were  left  by  Colonel  Olcott,  the  President,  in  the 
hands  of  a  Committee  of  seven. 

1  Collapse,  19.  3  Report  of  Observations,  32. 

2  Below, p.  240.  *  Proceedings,  IX,  225,  373-4. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       237 

b.  On  the  2gth  of  February  one  member  of  this  Com 
mittee,  Dr.  Hartmann  by  name,  arrived  at  headquarters ; 
and  two  or  three  days  later  a  meeting  of  the  Committee 
was  held.  In  order  that  they  might  sit  in  quiet,  Dr.  Hart 
mann  proposed  that  they  should  meet  in  Madame  Blavat- 
sky's  room  upstairs ;  but,  to  his  amazement,  the  Coulombs 
refused  to  give  them  admittance.  The  consequence  was  a 
bitter  quarrel  between  the  Coulombs,  on  the  one  side,  and 
the  members  of  the  Committee  and  the  other  residents  at 
headquarters,  on  the  other.  Madame  Coulomb  said  that 
she  had  many  secrets  which  she  would  tell,  if  they  continued 
to  molest  her.1  She  said  there  were  sliding  panels  in  the 
walls  by  which  phenomena  were  created,  and  secret  panels 
in  the  Shrine,  by  mean  of  which  the  letters  from  the 
Master  and  other  things  were  introduced  from  Madame 
Blavatsky's  room  behind.  She  also  talked  of  the  money 
which  she  had  lent  Madame  Blavatsky  in  Egypt  and 
which  had  not  been  repaid.2  Hence  Dr.  Hartmann  and 
others  wrote  to  Madame  Blavatsky  and  Colonel  Olcott, 
complaining  of  the  Coulombs. 

So  serious  did  matters  become  in  the  meantime,  that  the 
Committee  decided  to  impeach  them  in  an  informal  manner, 
and  expel  them  from  headquarters.  But  on  March  22nd, 
while  they  were  drawing  up  the  charges  against  them, 
Damodar  laid  before  them  a  letter,3  which  he  declared  had 
been  brought  from  Koot  Hoomi  by  a  chela  in  his  astral 
body,  advising  them  not  to  turn  out  the  Coulombs.  Natu 
rally,  the  Committee  were  rather  upset  to  find  such  an 
authority  interfering  to  save  the  traitors.  Yet,  in  the  face 
of  a  message  direct  from  the  Master,  they  dared  not  turn 

1  Collapse,  24,  25,  34  flf.    She  had  spoken  earlier  to  many  people  in  the 
same  strain. 

2  Above,  p.  213. 

8  Given  in  full  in  Proceedings,  DC,  278. 


238    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

them  out  of  doors.     Consequently,  as  Dr.  Hartman  says, 
an  armistice  was  concluded  with  them. 

After  the  peace  was  patched  up,  the  Coulombs,  Mr.  Lane 
Fox  and  Damodar  went  to  Ootacamund  for  a  holiday. 
Meanwhile,  the  letters  despatched  early  in  March,  reached 
the  founders  in  Paris ;  and  they  replied,  in  letters  written 
on  the  ist  and  2nd  of  April,  to  the  Coulombs  and  to  others. 
These  letters  reached  Madras  on  the  25th  of  April.  On 
the  26th,  the  very  day  when  the  mail  from  Europe  reached 
Ootacamund,  a  letter 1  purporting  to  come  from  the  Master, 
and  directed  to  Dr.  Hartmann,  was  forwarded  to  the  latter 
by  Damodar,  from  Ootacamund.  This  letter  said  that  the 
Coulombs  were  plotting.  Therefore,  when  they  returned 
from  Ootacamund,  the  Committee  decided  to  expel  them. 
On  the  iyth  of  May,  M.  Coulomb  gave  up  the  keys  he  held, 
and  several  of  the  sliding  doors  and  panels  which  Madame 
Coulomb  had  talked  about  were  discovered.2  On  the  23rd 
of  May  they  were  finally  forced  to  leave  headquarters. 

c.  We  now  turn  to  Europe  for  a  moment.     The  Theo- 
sophical  Society  had  by  this  time  attained  so  much  notoriety 
that  the  London  Society  for  Psychical  Research  appointed, 
in  May,  i884,3  a  Committee  for  the  taking  of  such  evidence 
as  to  the  alleged  phenomena  as  might  be  offered  by  mem 
bers  of  that  body  at  the  time  in  England,  or  as  could  be  col 
lected  elsewhere.     The  journey  of  the  founders  to  Europe 
thus  came  at  a  very  fortunate  time,  and  the  Research 
Society  took  full  advantage  of  it.4 

d.  On  the  gth  of  August  Madame  Coulomb  called  on  the 
Editor  of  The  Madras  Christian  College  Magazine,  and  placed 
in  his  hands  some  forty  letters,  and  asked  him  whether  he 
cared  to  publish  them,  as  they  contained  sufficient  evidence 

1  Parts  of  it  were  published  by  Dr.  Hartmann  in  his  September  pamphlet 
(p.  240,  below)  and  these  are  reproduced  in  Proceedings,  IX,  279. 

2  Proceedings,  IX,  223.  3  Ib.,  IX,  201.  4  Ib.,  IX,  202. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       239 

to  expose  the  fraudulent  nature  of  the  phenomena  which 
had  made  so  much  stir  in  India.  The  Editor  asked  for  a 
few  days  to  look  into  the  matter.1 

A  few  days  later  the  General  Council  of  the  Theosophical 
Society  through  their  Chairman,  Dr.  Hartmann,  sent  out  a 
circular  letter  of  inquiry  to  a  number  of  Theosophists  who 
had  visited  headquarters,  asking  them  what  they  knew 
about  the  Shrine.2 

Meantime  the  Editor  of  the  Christian  College  Magazine 
was  examining  the  documents  left  in  his  hands.  Most  of 
them  were  letters  from  Madame  Blavatsky  to  Madame 
Coulomb,  but  there  were  several  other  things,  a  letter 
from  Mrs.  Carmichael  (the  wife  of  an  Indian  Civilian)  to 
Madame  Blavatsky  with  a  letter  to  Madame  Coulomb 
written  on  the  back,  a  receipt  for  a  telegram,  etc.  The 
Editor  submitted  the  documents  to  the  most  skilled  opinion 
available  in  Madras,  among  others  to  certain  bankers,  and 
they  pronounced  them  genuine.3  But  the  letters  authen 
ticated  themselves.  No  one  could  look  through  them  and 
believe  them  to  be  forgeries.  The  question  of  the  hand 
writing  was  quite  a  subordinate  one.  The  letters  con 
tained  scores  of  references  to  leading  Hindus  and  Govern 
ment  Officials  all  over  India  with  details  of  what  happened 
when  Madame  Blavatsky  was  in  their  houses  and  when  she 
met  them  casually.  No  forger  would  have  dared  to  invent 
such  details.  If  they  had  been  forged,  a  few  personal  in 
quiries  would  have  at  once  exposed  them.  The  style  was 
also  Madame  Blavatsky's,  brilliant,  vivacious,  full  of  sur 
prises  and  sudden  changes.  The  documents  were  thus 
manifestly  genuine.  As  they  contained  numerous  instruc 
tions  to  Madame  Coulomb  for  the  production  of  phenomena, 
the  Editor  decided  to  publish  a  number  of  extracts  from 
them,  so  as  to  expose  Madame  Blavatsky  and  her  frauds. 

1  Collapse,  29.  «  Proceedings,  IX,  223,  325.  3  Ib.,  IX,  277. 


240    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

Accordingly,  an  article  appeared  in  the  Christian  College 
Magazine,  on  September  loth,1  containing  extracts  from 
some  dozen  letters,  with  sufficient  comment  to  make  them 
comprehensible.  The  letters  were  almost  all  in  French. 
The  text  and  the  English  translation  were  given  in  parallel 
columns.  The  Editor  quoted  only  such  paragraphs  as  were 
necessary  to  prove  the  fraud,  and  omitted  numerous  pas 
sages  dealing  with  the  private  affairs  of  individuals,  both 
European  and  Indian;  and  most  of  the  letters  were  not 
used  at  all. 

The  publication  of  this  article  caused  immense  excitement 
throughout  India.  Most  of  the  newspapers  recognized 
that  it  was  a  genuine  exposure,  but  some  doubted  whether 
the  Editor  had  not  been  hoaxed  by  forgeries.  The  leading 
Theosophists,  on  the  other  hand,  put  the  whole  matter  down 
as  a  conspiracy  on  the  part  of  the  missionaries. 

e.  Mr.  W.  Q.  Judge,  who  took  part  in  the  foundation  of 
the  society  in  i8y5,2  was  in  Europe  in  1884,  and  was  sent 
by  Olcott  from  Paris  to  Madras.3  He  arrived  there  some 
time  in  May  or  June. 

/.  Dr.  Hartmann  now  drew  up  as  vigorous  a  defence 
of  Madame  Blavatsky  as  he  could  and  published  it,  some 
time  in  September,  with  the  title,  Report  of  Observations 
made  during  a  nine-months'  stay  at  the  Head-quarters  of  the 
Theosophical  Society  at  Adyar  (Madras),  India.*  A  rough 
and  inaccurate  plan  of  the  chief  rooms  at  headquarters, 
probably  the  work  of  Judge,5  appeared  in  it.  It  is  repro 
duced  above,  plan  A,  page  234.  Hartmann  denied  that 
the  letters  which  had  been  published  were  genuine,  and 
charged  the  missionaries  with  forming  a  conspiracy  against 
the  Theosophical  Society.  He  confesses  the  existence  at 

1  Reproduced  in  Collapse,  1-15.  2  See  above,  p.  218. 

1  MPL,  125.    The  passage  is  quoted  below,  p.  248. 

4  Proceedings,  IX,  230.  6  See  pp.  452-3,  below. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       241 

headquarters  of  such  sliding  panels,  trapdoors,  holes  in  the 
wall,  etc.,  as  could  be  used  for  the  production  of  occult 
phenomena;  but  he  asserts,  that  M.  Coulomb  made  all 
these  after  Madame  Blavatsky's  departure,  in  order  to  ruin 
her  reputation.  The  whole  conspiracy,  however,  would 
be  unmasked  and  the  innocence  of  Madame  Blavatsky 
established  in  a  court  of  law. 

We  have  noted  Judge's  arrival  above  because  of  the 
following  grave  incident  in  which  he  was  concerned.  The 
chief  facts  are  given  in  a  written  statement  by  Dr.  Hart- 
mann  from  which  we  quote  the  following : 

Of  the  existence  of  a  movable  back  to  the  Shrine  and  a  filled- 
up  aperture  in  the  wall,  none  of  us  knew  anything,  and  although 
superficial  examinations  were  made,  they  divulged  nothing; 
because  to  make  a  thorough  examination,  it  would  have  been 
necessary  to  take  the  Shrine  down,  and  we  were  prevented  from 
doing  this  by  the  superstitious  awe  with  which  Mr.  Damodar 
K.  Mavalankar  regarded  the  Shrine,  and  who  looked  upon  every 
European  who  dared  to  touch  or  handle  the  "sacred  "  shrine  as  a 
desecration. 

At  about  the  time  when  Major-General  Morgan  sent  his  invita 
tion  to  Mr.  Patterson  to  come  to  headquarters,  that  examina 
tion  was  made,  and  it  was  found  that  the  back  of  the  Shrine 
could  be  removed,  and  on  moistening  the  wall  behind  the  Shrine 
with  a  wet  cloth,  it  was  found  that  an  aperture  had  existed, 
which  had  been  plastered  up.  ... 

I  must  confess  that  it  seemed  to  me  that  if  at  that  inoppor 
tune  moment  this  new  discovery,  to  which  I  then  alluded  in  the 
papers  (see  Madras  Mail),  would  have  been  made  public,  it 
would  have  had  a  bad  effect  on  the  public  mind  .  .  . 

A  gentleman  who  was  present,  and  who  shared  my  opinions, 
was  of  the  opinion  that  the  Shrine  had  been  too  much  desecrated 
to  be  of  any  more  use,  and  he  burned  the  Shrine  in  my  presence.1 

What  they  found  was  that  the  back  of  the  Shrine  consisted 
of  three  movable  panels,  and  that  there  had  been  an  aper- 

1  Proceedings,  IX,  225. 


242    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

ture  in  the  thin  brick  partition  behind;1  so  that  there 
had  actually  been  direct  communication  between  Madame 
Blavatsky's  room  and  the  interior  of  the  Shrine,  precisely 
as  Madame  Coulomb  had  said.2  The  aperture  had  been 
plastered  up  when  Madame  Blavatsky  sailed  for  Europe. 
Among  those  who  examined  the  Shrine  and  made  the  dis 
covery  were  Dr.  Hartmann,  Mr.  Judge  and  Mr.  T.  Vijaya- 
raghava  Charloo  (known  as  Ananda) ; 3  and  it  was  Judge 
who  burned  the  Shrine.4  The  date  of  the  discovery  was 
September  2oth.5 

Dr.  Hartmann  and  Theosophists  generally  have  always 
maintained  that  the  sliding  panels  in  the  back  of  the  Shrine 
and  the  hole  in  the  wall  behind  it,  which  made  it  possible 
to  get  access  to  the  Shrine  surreptitiously  from  Madame 
Blavatsky's  room,  were  made  by  M.  Coulomb  after  Madame 
Blavatsky  sailed  for  Europe  in  February,  1884.  It  is  passing 
strange  that  they  destroyed  the  Shrine,  if  they  were  really 
convinced  that  M.  Coulomb  had  made  these  arrangements 
in  order  to  ruin  Madame  Blavatsky.  Why  did  they 
not  preserve  this  most  notable  piece  of  evidence  of  his 
villainy  ? 

The  truth  is  that  it  is  totally  impossible  to  believe  that  the 
sliding  panels  in  the  Shrine  and  the  hole  in  the  wall  were 
made  by  M.  Coulomb  after  Madame  Blavatsky's  departure ; 
for  while  the  Coulombs  had  charge  of  her  rooms,  Damodar 
had  the  keys  of  the  Occult  Room  and  the  Shrine?  How  then 
could  M.  Coulomb  insert  sliding  panels  in  the  back  of  the 
'  shrine,  and  dig  a  hole  through  the  wall  without  the  know 
ledge  of  Damodar  ?  The  burning  of  the  Shrine  shows  that 
Judge  and  Hartmann  had  had  some  glimpse  of  this  truth. 

1  See  p.  232,  above,  and  plan  B,  page  235.  2  See  p.  237,  above. 

8  Proceedings,  IX,  224.  On  this  page  a  full  and  clear  account  is  given  of 
the  removal  of  the  Shrine. 

4  Ib.,  XXIV,  141.  6  Ib.,  IX,  227.     See  p.  247,  below. 

8  P.  236,  above. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       243 

Clearly  they  were  conscious  that  no  defence  of  Madame 
Blavatsky  was  possible  while  the  Shrine  remained  in  exist 
ence. 

g.  It  is  important  that  Hartmann's  bold  promise  of  a 
lawsuit  should  be  kept  in  mind.  In  making  it  Dr.  Hart- 
mann  did  not  stand  alone.  Judge  was  especially  bold  in 
promising  a  full  exposure  in  court ; 1  and  Theosophists  in 
every  part  of  India  loudly  proclaimed  that  the  missionaries 
would  be  prosecuted,  and  their  conspiracy  laid  bare.  So 
strong  was  confidence  at  headquarters  that  again  and  again 
it  was  prophesied  that  they  would  rue  the  day  when  first 
they  accepted  the  lying  evidence  of  two  dismissed  servants.2 
The  London  Lodge  published  a  pamphlet  in  which  it  was 
stated  that  the  matter  would  go  to  Court;  and  Madame 
Blavatsky  also  stated  in  an  interview  with  a  representative 
of  The  Pall  Mall  Gazette  that  she  was  hurrying  to  India 
to  commence  proceedings  against  the  missionaries.2 

But,  while  this  was  what  she  said  in  public,  she  wrote 
in  a  very  different  strain  to  M.  Solovyoff.  We  quote  part 
of  her  letter.  The  date  is  early  in  October,  1884  : 

"First  of  all,  you  can  say  to  each  and  all  in  Paris  that  since, 
in  spite  of  all  my  efforts,  in  spite  of  my  having  sacrificed  to  the 
society  life  and  health  and  my  whole  future,  I  am  suspected  not 
only  by  my  enemies  but  even  by  my  own  theosophists.  I  shall 
cut  off  the  infected  limb  from  the  sound  body ;  that  is,  I  shall 
cut  myself  off  from  the  society.  They  have  all  clutched  at  the 
idea  with  such  delight,  Olcott  and  Madame  Gebhard  and  the 
rest,  that  I  have  not  even  met  with  any  pity.  I  leave  the  moral 
to  you.  Of  course,  I  shall  not  depart  into  the  'wilderness' 
till  Olcott,  who  starts  for  India  by  the  first  steamer,  has  arranged 
matters  at  Adyar,  and  exposed  and  proved  the  conspiracy 
—  they  gave  the  Coulomb  woman  10,000  rupees 3  as  is  now 
proved,  in  order  to  destroy  the  society ;  but  when  all  this  has 
settled  down,  then  I  shall  go  off,  —  where,  I  do  not  know  yet ; 

1  Collapse,  51-2.  2  /&.,  49.  3  See  below,  p.  246. 


244    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

it  is  all  the  same,  besides,  so  long  as  it  is  somewhere  that  nobody 
knows.1 

h.  In  October  a  second  article  appeared  in  The  Christian 
College  Magazine,2  in  which  the  missionaries,  in  reply  to  Dr. 
Hartmann's  pamphlet  and  to  other  criticisms  which  Theoso- 
phists  had  raised  against  them,  published  a  further  instal 
ment  of  letters,  and  indicated  still  more  clearly  the  great 
strength  of  their  position. 

i.  So  keen  was  the  interest  in  the  Psychical  Society  on  the 
question  of  the  Theosophical  phenomena  and  of  the  gen 
uineness  of  the  letters  published  in  The  Christian  College 
Magazine  that  the  Committee  appointed  by  them  to  con 
sider  the  phenomena  determined  to  send  one  of  their  num 
ber  to  India  to  make  careful  scientific  investigations  on  the 
spot.  Mr.  Richard  Hodgson,  B.A.,  of  St.  John's  College, 
Cambridge,  was  sent  out  at  the  expense  of  Prof.  Henry  )#&*• 
Sidgwick.  He  arrived  in  Madras  on  the  i8th  of  December. 
On  the  2oth  of  December  Madame  Blavatsky  and  Colonel 
Olcott  arrived  at  the  headquarters  in  Madras. 

The  following  is  Mr.  Hodgson's  own  statement  of  his 
attitude  of  mind : 

Before  proceeding  it  may  be  well  for  me  to  state  that  the 
general  attitude  which  I  have  for  years  maintained  with  respect 
to  various  classes  of  alleged  phenomena  which  form  the  subject  of 
investigation  by  our  Society  enabled  me,  as  I  believe,  to  approach 
the  task  I  had  before  me  with  complete  impartiality ;  while  the 
conclusions  which  I  held  and  still  hold  concerning  the  important 
positive  results  achieved  by  our  Society  in  connection  with  the 
phenomena  of  Telepathy,  —  of  which,  moreover,  I  have  had 
instances  in  my  own  experience,  both  spontaneous  and  experi 
mental,  and  both  as  agent  and  percipient,  —  formed  a  further 
safeguard  of  my  readiness  to  deal  with  the  evidence  set  before 
me  without  prejudice  as  to  the  principles  involved.  Indeed, 
whatever  prepossessions  I  may  have  held  were  distinctly  in 
1  MPL,  94-95.  2  Reproduced  in  Collapse,  15-42. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD   RELIGIONS       245 

favour  of  Occultism  and  Madame  Blavatsky  —  a  fact  which, 
I  think  I  may  venture  to  say,  is  well  known  to  several  leading 
Theosophists.1 

Mr.  Hodgson's  actions  fully  bear  out  his  statement.  When 
he  arrived  in  Madras,  the  Editor  of  The  Christian  College 
Magazine  offered  him  hospitality,  but  he  declined  it ;  and 
a  day  or  two  later  the  Editor  heard  that  he  had  gone  to  re 
side  at  the  Theosophic  headquarters ;  and  there  he  resided 
all  the  time  he  was  in  India  (nearly  three  months),  except 
when  he  went  on  short  visits  to  places  at  a  distance  from 
Madras.  Madame  Blavatsky  acknowledges  frankly  that 
he  was  friendly  to  the  Theosophist  cause  when  he  arrived 
in  India.  She  writes  to  M.  Solovyoff  : 

It  was  he  (i.e.  Hartmann)  who  turned  Hodgson,  the  repre 
sentative  sent  by  the  London  Psychical  Society  to  inquire  into 
the  phenomena  in  India,  from  a  friend,  as  he  was  at  first,  into  an 
enemy.2 

Mr.  Hodgson  acted  wisely,  I  believe,  in  putting  up  at 
headquarters.  He  thus  gave  Madame  Blavatsky,  Colonel 
Olcott  and  all  their  followers  the  fullest  possible  opportu 
nity  of  explaining  every  suspicious  circumstance  and  giving 
all  the  evidence  they  possessed  to  prove  that  the  letters 
which  had  been  published  were  forgeries ;  while  he  himself 
was  able  to  become  acquainted  with  every  corner  of  the 
rooms  at  headquarters,  except  in  so  far  as  the  Theosophic 
leaders  had  destroyed  the  evidence.3 

The  Editor  of  The  Christian  College  Magazine  handed 
the  incriminating  letters  to  Mr.  Hodgson  for  examination, 
on  condition  that  they  should  be  returned,  as  they  were  the 
property  of  Madame  Coulomb,  and  were  to  be  handed 

1  Proceedings,  IX,  208. 

2  MPL,  124.    Quoted  below,  p.  248.    Cf.  also  Proceedings,  XXIV,  135. 
•  See  above,  pp.  241-2. 


246    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

back  to  her  as  soon  as  all  danger  of  a  prosecution  should 
have  passed  away.1 

Mr.  Hodgson  interviewed  the  people  who  supplied  the 
materials  for  building  and  repairs,  traced  the  vases,  saucers, 
flowers,  etc.,  which  appeared  in  the  phenomena,  to  the  shops 
or  other  places  whence  they  came,  and  endeavoured  to  fit 
these  facts  into  the  accounts  given  by  those  who  witnessed 
the  phenomena.  He  tested  all  the  details  of  the  incrimi 
nating  letters,  cross-questioned  witnesses,  examined  the 
places  referred  to,  and  compared  the  documents  with 

1  As  Theosophists  have  persistently  declared  that  the  Missionaries 
bought  the  letters  for  a  very  large  price,  the  truth  must  be  set  down  here. 
The  Editor  of  The  Christian  College  Magazine  writes  in  April,  1885  (Collapse, 

54-5) = 

"  We  did  not  buy  the  letters.  They  are  still  Madame  Coulomb's  property 
and  will  remain  so.  Two,  at  least,  of  the  members  of  the  Committee  of 
Investigation  —  Dr.  Hartmann  and  Mr.  Subba  Row  —  know  this,  and  have 
known  it  since  Sept.  2yth  of  last  year.  On  that  date  the  Editor  of  The 
Christian  College  Magazine,  accompanied  by  Mr.  Gribble,  the  Rev.  A.  Alex 
ander  and  the  Rev.  J.  E.  Padfield,  visited  the  Headquarters  of  the  Theo- 
sophical  Society,  where  they  met  Messrs.  Hartmann,  Judge,  Subba  Row  and 
Damodar.  At  the  close  of  the  interview  Dr.  Hartmann  asked  what  we  had 
paid  Madame  Coulomb,  and  remarked  that  it  was  rumoured  we  had  pur 
chased  the  letters  for  Rs.  10,000.  He  was  informed  that  such  a  rumour 
was  wholly  false,  that  we  had  not  purchased  the  letters,  and  that  Madame 
Coulomb  had  only  been  paid  at  our  ordinary  rates  for  work  done.  On  our 
return  we  asked  the  gentlemen  who  had  accompanied  us  to  write  down 
separately  their  recollections  of  the  interview.  On  reference  to  these  docu 
ments  we  find  the  following  remarks  of  Dr.  Hartmann's  recorded.  We 
quote  from  Mr.  Alexander's  account :  — 

"'Dr.  Hartmann  replied  .  .  .  that  this  confirmed  what  he  had  always 
thought,  that  Madame  Coulomb  was  acting  not  for  money  but  for  revenge.' 

"  We  may  add  to  this  that  the  letters  were  put  into  our  hands  absolutely 
and  unconditionally,  with  the  single  proviso  that  they  should  be  returned 
when  we  were  done  with  them.  The  first  suggestion  as  to  payment  for  work 
done  came  not  from  Madame  Coulomb  but  from  us ;  and  from  first  to  last 
we  have  paid  her  the  comparatively  paltry  sum  of  Rs.  150." 

One  of  the  letters  was  lent  to  Mr.  W.  Emmette  Coleman  of  San  Fran 
cisco.  He  promised  to  return  it,  but  did  not  do  so.  It  was  probably  burned, 
along  with  his  other  papers,  in  the  great  fire  in  San  Francisco.  See  p.  263. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD   RELIGIONS       247 

acknowledged  specimens  of  Madame  Blavatsky's  hand 
writing  in  matters  of  spelling,  phraseology/  style,  etc.  No 
other  person,  whether  Theosophist  or  not,  had  the  oppor 
tunity  of  examining  all  the  witnesses  personally,  of  seeing 
all  the  rooms  and  other  places  involved  in  the  matters  at 
issue,  and  of  handling  all  the  documents.  Any  one  who, 
from  a  sincere  desire  to  get  at  what  actually  happened  in 
these  matters,  will  work  patiently  and  carefully  through 
the  multitude  of  details  supplied  in  all  the  sources,  will 
realize  with  what  extreme  honesty  and  with  what  infinite 
pains  Hodgson  collected  and  sifted  the  evidence. 

As  he  proceeded  with  this  persistent  scientific  search  for 
the  facts,  it  became  evident  that  the  Theosophic  leaders 
were  not  trustworthy  witnesses,  that  they  contradicted 
themselves  and  each  other  in  multitudes  of  particulars. 
Each  new  piece  of  cross-questioning  on  Mr.  Hodgson's 
part  produced  a  new  version  of  some  occurrence.  Madame 
Blavatsky,2  Colonel  Olcott,3  Hartmann4  and  Damodar5  " 
all  produced  a  very  bad  impression. 

Here  is  what  happened  when  Mr.  Hodgson  asked  his  first 
questions  about  the  shrine  in  December,  1884  : 

Madame  Blavatsky  professed  ignorance  on  the  subject, 
saying  she  had  been  unable  to  discover  what  had  been  done  with 
the  Shrine.  Mr.  Damodar  and  Mr.  Hartmann  both  denied 
having  any  knowledge  of  it,  and  it  was  only  after  repeated  and 
urgent  requests  to  be  told  what  had  happened  that  I  learnt  from 
the  halting  account  given  by  Mr.  Damodar  and  Dr.  Hartmann 
that  the  Shrine  had  been  removed  from  the  Occult  Room  (see 
Plan6)  into  Mr.  Damodar's  room  at  about  mid-day  of  September 
2oth,  that  on  the  following  morning,  at  9  o'clock,  they  found  the 
Shrine  had  been  taken  away,  and  they  had  not  seen  it  since. 

1  See  below,  pp.  256-7. 

2  Proceedings,  XXIV,  133. 

3  Ib.t  IX,  210,  237-239,  309,  311,  335-6. 

4  Ib.,  IX,  220-226.          5  Ib.,  IX,  210,  226-237,  312.       8  Above,  p.  235. 


248    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

They  threw  out  suggestions  implying  that  the  Coulombs  or  the 
missionaries  might  have  stolen  it.1 

Mr.  Hodgson  questioned  every  Theosophist  who  had  sent 
in  written  answers  to  Dr.  Hartmann  about  the  Shrine  and 
any  other  one  who  could  throw  any  light  on  its  history,  and 
in  this  way  gradually  pieced  together  a  certain  amount  of 
information  about  it.  All  the  evidence  showed  that  no  one 
had  examined  the  Shrine  carefully  before  the  2oth  of  Sep 
tember.  Every  statement  made  about  examinations  before 
that  date  proved  altogether  untrustworthy.  But  he  was 
kept  in  ignorance  of  the  burning  of  the  Shrine  until  the  i3th 
of  March.2 

j.  We  may  next  see  what  Madame  Blavatsky  herself 
wrote  about  Dr.  Hartmann.  The  letter  was  written  from 
Naples  in  May,  1885,  to  M.  Solovyoff,  after  her  final  return 
from  India,  but  six  months  before  Mr.  Hodgson's  report 
appeared : 

If  your  heart  is  not  attracted  to  Hartmann,  you  are  quite 
right.  This  dreadful  man  has  done  me  more  harm  by  his  de 
fence,  and  often  by  his  deceit,  than  the  Coulombs  by  open  lying. 
One  moment  he  was  defending  me  in  the  papers,  the  next  he  was 
writing  such  '  equivokes '  that  even  the  papers  hostile  to  me  could 
only  open  their  mouths  and  say :  '  There  is  a  friend  for  you  ! ' 
One  day  he  defended  me  in  letters  to  Hume  and  other  theoso- 
phists,  and  then  hinted  at  such  infamies  that  all  his  correspond 
ents  went  against  me.  It  was  he  who  turned  Hodgson,  the  repre 
sentative  sent  by  the  London  Psychical  Society  to  inquire  into 
the  phenomena  in  India,  from  a  friend  as  he  was  at  first,  into  an 
enemy.  He  is  a  cynic,  a  liar,  cunning  and  vindictive,  and  his 
jealousy  of  the  Master,  and  his  envy  for  any  one  on  whom  the 
Master  bestows  the  least  attention,  are  simply  repulsive.  He 
has  turned  our  devoted  Judge,  when  despatched  by  Olcott  from 
Paris  to  Adyar,  into  our  enemy.  He  set  against  me  at  one  time 
all  the  Europeans  in  Adyar,  Lane  Fox,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Oakley, 

1  Proceedings,  IX,  220.     See  the  truth,  above,  pp.  241-2. 

2  Below,  p.  250. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD   RELIGIONS       249 

Brown ;  the  Hindus  alone,  who  hate  him  and  have  long  since 
taken  his  measure,  he  was  unable  to  stir.  Now  I  have  been 
able  to  save  the  society  from  him,  by  agreeing  to  take  him  with 
me  under  the  plea  that  he  is  a  doctor.  The  society,  and  Olcott 
at  their  head,  were  so  afraid  of  him  that  they  did  not  dare  expel 
him.1 

There  thus  need  be  no  doubt  as  to  Dr.  Hartmann's  charac 
ter  as  a  witness. 

k.  From  the  time  that  Madame  Blavatsky  and  Colonel 
Olcott  reached  Madras,  on  the  2oth  December,  1884  (two 
days  after  Hodgson's  arrival),  the  missionaries  and  the  Cou 
lombs  watched  and  waited  eagerly,  looking  for  the  promised 
suit-at-law  which  was  to  establish  the  innocence  of  Madame 
Blavatsky,  prove  the  Coulombs  forgers  and  expose  the 
missionaries  as  conspirators.  But  week  after  week  passed, 
and  nothing  happened.  The  blustering  ceased.  Hart- 
mann,  who  had  boasted  by  word  of  mouth  and  in  print,  did 
nothing.  Colonel  Olcott  and  Judge  were  mute.  Madame 
Blavatsky  initiated  no  proceedings  in  the  Law  Courts  to 
clear  her  character.  Finally,  in  February,  there  was  issued 
from  headquarters  a  pamphlet,  the  work  of  Dr.  Hartmann 
in  the  main,  and  bearing  the  following  title,  Report  of  the 
Result  of  an  Investigation  into  the  charges  against  Madame 
Blavatsky,  brought  by  the  Missionaries  of  the  Scottish  Free 
Church  at  Madras  and  examined  by  a  Committee  appointed 
for  that  purpose  by  the  General  Council  of  the  Theosophical 
Society.  Madras,  Scottish  Press,  i885-2  This  pamphlet 
contains  the  written  replies  sent  in  by  Theosophists  in 
response  to  the  letter  circulated  in  August,3  but  no  mention 
is  made  of  the  discoveries  made  by  Dr.  Hartmann  and  Mr. 
Judge  in  September,4  nor  of  the  effect  of  Hodgson's  examina- 

1  MPI.,  124-5. 

2  Collapse,  48;  Proceedings,  XXIV,  134  n. 

3  See  above,  p.  239.  4  See  above,  pp.  241-2. 


250    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

tion  on  those  who  had  sent  in  replies.1  It  is  stated  in  the 
pamphlet  that  there  is  to  be  no  prosecution  of  the  mission 
aries.  What  a  fiasco !  A  pamphlet  instead  of  a  prosecu 
tion  ! 

What  was  it  that  choked  the  bluster  of  the  Theosophists 
and  stilled  the  last  threat  of  a  prosecution  ?  In  the  inner 
^circles  of  Theosophy  it  is  acknowledged  that  Sinnett,  Olcott 
and  the  others  were  afraid  to  have  Madame  Blavatsky  with 
her  unbridled  tongue  go  into  the  witness-box :  as  a  witness 
she  was  impossible.  That  doubtless  weighed  also,  but  the 
real  cause  of  their  terror,  without  any  doubt,  was  the  search 
ing  examination  made  by  Hodgson.  Until  he  came  and  sub 
jected  them  to  his  trained  scientific  mode  of  inquiry,  they 
doubtless  believed  they  had  an  irrefragable  case.  But 
that  ordeal  made  everybody  at  headquarters  realize  that 
no  Theosophic  leader  could  stand  cross-examination  for  a 
quarter  of  an  hour,  and  that  many  of  the  phenomena  could 
be  shewn  to  be  fraudulent  by  a  few  carefully  directed  in 
quiries.  To  go  to  court  would  be  black  ruin.  The  follow 
ing  quotation  will  make  this  plain  and  will  also  explain  the 
events  that  followed.  Hodgson  writes : 

It  was  on  the  evening  of  March  i3th,  at  a  conference  between 
Dr.  Hartmann,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Cooper-Oakley,  Mr.  Hume  and 
myself,  that  Dr.  Hartmann  finally  confessed  that  "  nobody  was 

allowed  to  touch  that  d Shrine,"  and  he  then  related  the 

incident  described  on  p.  224  of  my  Report,2  concerning  the  dis 
covery  of  the  sliding  panel  of  the  Shrine  and  the  subsequent 
destruction  of  the  Shrine  itself.  I  had  learned  from  Mr.  A.  D. 
Ezekiel,  in  Bombay,  that  he  had  discovered  independently  that 
there  had  once  been  a  hole  in  the  wall  behind  the  Shrine,  but 
that  it  had  been  carefully  blocked  up.  Dr.  Hartmann  then 
admitted  that  traces  of  this  hole  had  been  discovered  previously, 
but  the  discovery  was  kept  a  secret.  On  the  following  morning 
Mr.  Hume  drew  up  some  statements  to  form  proposed  resolu- 

1  See  above,  p.  248,  2  See  above,  pp.  241-2. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD   RELIGIONS       251 

tions  for  an  informal  meeting  to  be  held  in  the  evening  by  him 
self,  the  Oakleys,  Hartmann,  Ragoonath  Row,  Subba  Row,  and 
P.  Sreenvas  Row.  These  were  to  the  effect  that  most  of  the 
phenomena  in  connection  with  the  Theosophical  Society  were 
fraudulent,  as  appears  from  such  of  the  Coulombs'  statements  as 
have  been  verified,  and  the  independent  investigations  by  myself, 
that  the  Society  be  reconstituted,  that  Madame  Blavatsky, 
Olcott,  Damodar,  Babajee  and  Bhavani  Shankar  should  resign 
their  connection  with  it,  that  the  disputed  letters  are  genuine, 
and  that  Hartmann's  pamphlet  as  well  as  the  Defence  pamphlet 
should  be  withdrawn,  as  being  founded  on  an  imperfect  know 
ledge  of  the  circumstances.  These  resolutions,  as  I  was  informed 
by  Mr.  Hume,  were  not  carried,  the  Oakleys  and  Dr.  Hartmann 
being  unwilling  to  go  so  far  as  to  condemn  the  phenomena  as 
fraudulent.  It  was  decided,  however,  that  the  pamphlets 
should  be  withdrawn.1 

Hartmann  confessed  that  the  pamphlet  published  in 
February  was  thoroughly  untrustworthy,2  and  gave  Mr. 
Hodgson  a  written  statement  about  the  Shrine.3  Finally, 
Madame  Blavatsky  herself  confessed  that  the  Shrine  was 
made  with  three  sliding  panels  in  the  back.4 

The  result  of  Mr.  Hodgson's  long  patient  inquiry  was\ 
that  he  was  driven  to  these  conclusions :  that  every  phe-  v 
nomenon,  so  far  as  he  had  been  able  to  trace  it,  was  fraudu- ) 
lent ;  that  the  letters  handed  over  by  Madame  Coulomb  { 
were  genuine ;  and  that  most  of  the  Koot  Hoomi  letters ? 
were  written  by  Madame  Blavatsky  herself,  though  a  few . 
were  probably  written  by  Damodar.5 

1  Proceedings,  XXIV,  134.  2  76.,  XXIV,  145. 

3  Reproduced  in  part,  Proceedings,  IX,  225,  and  quoted  above,  p.  241. 

4  Proceedings,  IX,  221. 

6  For  example,  Damodar,  who  knew  everything,  wrote  the  letter,  which 
pretends  to  come  from  Koot  Hoomi,  referred  to  above  on  p.  237,  to  prevent 
the  Committee  from  expelling  the  Coulombs  and  discovering  the  shrine  and 
the  sliding  panels,  at  least  until  orders  should  come  from  Europe.  The 
letter  from  M.,  referred  to  above  on  p.  238,  was  clearly  written  by  Madame 
Blavatsky  in  Europe  and  sent  by  the  mail  to  Damodar  to  be  delivered  to 


252    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

A  few  days  after  the  conference  just  described  Hodgson 
left  for  home.  About  the  same  time  Judge  slunk  away  to 
America  without  fulfilling  his  boasts ; l  and  Damodar, 
knowing  that  his  course  was  run,  took  a  journey  to  the 
Himalayas,  and  was  seen  no  more.2 

/.  When  Madame  Coulomb  saw  that  Madame  Blavatsky 
and  her  friends  were  afraid  to  prosecute  and  give  her  the 
opportunity  of  proving  the  truth  of  her  statements,  she 
determined  to  bring  the  matter  before  a  court  of  law  herself. 
But,  since  Madame  Blavatsky  had  not  publicly  charged 
Madame  Coulomb  with  forging  the  letters,  it  was  impossible 
to  prosecute  her.  Consequently,  she  instructed  Messrs. 
Barclay  and  Morgan  to  proceed  against  General  Morgan 
of  Ootacamund,  as  he  had  been  foremost  in  charging  her 
with  forgery.  But  at  this  juncture  Madame  Blavatsky's 
lady  doctor  went  and  begged  Madame  Coulomb's  friends 
to  postpone  the  case :  Madame  Blavatsky  was  so  ill  that 
it  would  inevitably  kill  her.  They  agreed.  Several  post 
ponements  were  asked  for  and  obtained;  but  finally  the 
patient  recovered.  It  was  then  decided  to  proceed 
with  the  case.  As  a  preliminary  measure,  Madame  Cou 
lomb's  solicitors  wrote  to  General  Morgan  on  March  25th, 
threatening  him  with  criminal  proceedings,  should  he  fail 
to  make  an  apology  before  April  2nd.  General  Morgan 
replied,  in  a  letter  dated  March  3ist,  declining  to  apologize. 

The  very  next  day,  the  Theosophical  Society  gave 
Madame  Blavatsky  permission  to  leave  India;  and  she 
embarked  on  a  French  steamer,  the  Tibre,  at  Madras 
on  ^e  2n<^  °^  April,  never  to  return.  In  order  that  no  one 

Dr.  Hartmann.  If  it  was  sent  by  Morya  himself,  how  did  he  require  to  use 
Damodar  as  his  postman  ?  Why  did  he  not  send  it  direct  to  Hartmann  in 
Madras  ? 

1  Proceedings,  XXIV,  141. 

2  The  reason  for  his  flight  may  be  found  in  Proceedings,  IX,  226-237. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       253 

might  know  beforehand  that  she  was  to  sail,  her  passage 
and  that  of  Miss  Flynn,  who  went  with  her,  were  taken 
under  the  name  of  " Madame  Helen  and  maid."  She  sailed 
on  a  medical  certificate  of  dishealth ;  for  her  doctor  thought 
that  she  ought  not  to  stay  through  the  hot  weather.  It  was 
kidney- trouble  she  had  suffered  from.  She  had  had  a  very 
similar  attack  in  Elberfeld  seven  months  earlier,1  and  she 
had  another  at  Wiirzburg  five  months  later.2  But  it  is 
also  perfectly  clear  that  it  was  not  this  sickness  that  was 
the  reason  for  her  sudden  and  secret  departure.  Had  she 
been  ready  to  clear  her  character,  she  could  have  stayed 
a  little  longer  without  the  slightest  danger.  As  soon  as 
it  was  rumoured  that  she  had  escaped,  a  representative 
of  Messrs.  Barclay  and  Morgan  went  down  by  rail 
to  Pondicherry,  where  the  French  steamer  had  to  call, 
went  on  board,  and  found  the  lady  well  and  happy 
on  deck,  surrounded  by  a  crowd  of  admirers.  She 
unquestionably  fled  from  India,  in  order  to  escape  the  ordeal 
of  cross-examination  as  a  witness  in  the  Coulomb-Morgan 
trial.  In  a  letter  to  M.  Solovyoff,  written  at  Naples  on 
the  2  Qth  of  the  month,  she  says  that  she  had  been  called  a 
Russian  spy,  and  adds : 

They  certainly  could  not  prove  anything,  but  meanwhile,  / 
on  mere  suspicion,  it  might  have  been  a  matter  of  sending  me 
to  jail,  arresting  me,  and  doing  who  knows  what  to  me.     I  have  - 
only  now  heard  all  this  in  detail;    they  did  not  tell  me,  and 
packed  me  off  straight  from  my  bed  on  to  the  French  steamer.3 

Dr.  Hartmann  also  sailed  in  the  same  steamer.  Thus,; 
Judge,  Damodar,  Madame  Blavatsky  and  Dr.  Hartmann '* 
had  all  fled  from  Madras. 

Two  days  after  the  steamer  sailed  the  following  note  ap 
peared  in  the  Madras  Mail: 

i  MPL,  77,  87.  2/&.,  144-  »/&.,  119. 


254    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

The  Theosophists :  —  Colonel  Olcott  writes  on  behalf  of  the 
General  Council  of  the  Theosophist  Society  to  say  that  "as  a 
number  of  copies  of  a  pamphlet  entitled  'Report  of  the  result 
of  the  investigations  into  the  charges  brought  against  Madame 
Blavatsky,' l  have  been  circulated,  it  is  my  duty  to  state  that 
the  issue  has  not  been  ordered  by  the  General  Council,  nor 
authorized  by  the  Committee."  2 

Clearly,  this  action  can  have  resulted  only  from  a  convic 
tion  on  the  part  of  the  leaders  that  the  pamphlet  was  un 
trustworthy  ;  and  that  is  precisely  what  Hodgson  says  they 
had  come  to.3  The  Theosophists  of  India  thereby  abso 
lutely  gave  up  the  attempt  to  defend  Madame  Blavatsky. 

On  the  22nd  of  April  a  letter  from  Madame  Coulomb  ap 
peared  in  the  Madras  Mail  in  which  she  explained  that,  since 
Madame  Blavatsky  had  left  the  country,  it  was  impossible 
to  have  the  question  of  the  authenticity  of  the  letters  satis 
factorily  settled,  and  she  had  in  consequence  decided  to  drop 
the  case  against  General  Morgan. 

m.  How  sick  the  Theosophic  leaders  were  of  phenomena 
is  patent  from  the  fact  that  from  this  time  these  most  useful 
miracles  were  banned.  They  were  unnecessary ;  and  they 
were  dangerous.  Every  book  labours  to  show  that  they 
are  no  essential  element  of  the  Theosophist  programme. 
But  has  no  one  realized  what  the  cessation  of  the  phenom 
ena  means  ?  Many  of  them  were  supposed  to  be  the  work 
of  the  Masters  themselves.  Hence,  if  we  accept  the  Theo 
sophic  explanation  of  the  Coulomb  affair,  we  must  conclude 
that  those  great  Adepts,  who,  in  the  fulness  of  their  omni 
science,  had  planned  them  and  carried  them  out,  were  com 
pelled  by  a  pair  of  forgers  and  a  few  conspiring  missionaries 
to  give  up  the  policy  they  had  adopted  for  the  establishment 
of  the  truth  in  India  ! 

1  See  above,  p.  249.  2  Proceedings,  XXIV,  135. 

3  See  above,  p.  251. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       255 

n.  Meantime,  the  Committee  appointed  by  the  Society 
for  Psychical  Research  to  inquire  into  the  phenomena  of 
Theosophy  had  been  dealing  with  certain  parallel  cases 
which  had  taken  place  in  Europe,  and  had  been  led  by  all 
the  evidence  adduced  to  declare  that  they  had  been  fraudu 
lently  arranged  by  Madame  Blavatsky.  This  conclusion 
was  based  solely  on  the  evidence  available  in  Europe,1 
and  is  thus  altogether  independent  of  the  Coulomb  letters 
and  the  masses  of  evidence  gathered  by  Hodgson. 

o.  When  his  report  was  laid  before  the  Committee,  they 
carefully  weighed  all  the  evidence  and  unanimously  accepted 
his  main  conclusions.  The  report  was  published  in  Decem- 
her,  1885.*  _ 

No  man  is  in  a  position  to  decide  any  one  of  the  most 
important  questions  at  issue  until  he  has  worked  his  way 
patiently  through  the  mass  of  detailed  evidence  accumu 
lated  in  this  report.  We  cannot,  in  the  space  at  our  dis 
posal,  give  any  outline  of  the  masses  of  evidence  set  forth  in 
it.  We  simply  note  the  most  outstanding  facts,  and  refer 
readers  to  all  the  relevant  documents. 

p.  With  regard  to  the  phenomena,  two  points  must  be 
noticed  here.  First,  the  famous  brooch  case,  detailed 
above,3  was  unmasked  by  journalists  long  before  Hodgson 
had  anything  to  do  with  the  question.  This  affords  us, 
then,  undeniable  evidence,  quite  apart  from  Hodgson,  the 
missionaries  and  the  Coulomb  letters,  that  Madame  Blavat 
sky,  on  one  occasion  at  least,  was  guilty  of  a  most  impudent 
piece  of  fraud,  and  that  she  had  made  the  most  careful  ar 
rangements  beforehand  to  deceive  her  hosts,  an  Indian 
Civilian  and  his  wife.  Secondly,  the  evidence  which  Hodg 
son  offers  to  prove  that  other  phenomena  were  fraudulent  is 
of  the  same  nature  as  that  which  exposed  the  brooch-trick, 
simple  matters  of  fact,  requiring  no  knowledge  of  telepathy 

1  Proceedings,  IX,  397-400.        *  Ib.,  IX,  201-396.         »  Pp.  228-31. 


256    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

or  any  form  of  occultism  for  their  appreciation,  but  under 
standable  by  all.  Let  readers  turn  to  the  Report. 

q.  As  to  the  letters  handed  over  by  Madame  Coulomb, 
the  handwriting  proved  them  to  be  Madame  Blavatsky's ; 
but  it  was  not  merely  the  handwriting  that  convinced  every 
one  who  handled  them  of  their  genuineness  and  made  it 
utterly  impossible  for  the  Theosophic  leaders  to  prove  them 
forgeries,  but  the  masses  of  detailed  allusions  in  them  to 
Indian  Civilians,  prominent  Hindus  and  other  people,1 
details  the  truth  of  which  no  one  could  deny  and  no  forger 
could  have  invented,  details  which  proved  absolutely  true 
so  far  as  Hodgson  was  able  to  probe  them  in  each  case.  The 
instructions  for  the  production  of  phenomena  contained  in 
the  letters  were  proved  genuine  by  the  sliding  panels  and 
other  arrangements  found  in  the  Shrine  and  in  Madame 
Blavatsky's  rooms  and  by  many  circumstances  discovered 
by  Hodgson. 

r.  In  the  case  of  the  long  philosophic  letters  purporting  to 
come  from  the  Masters,  there  is  abundance  of  evidence  to 
prove  that  most  of  them  were  written  by  Madame  Blavat- 
sky.  The  plagiarism  from  Mr.  Kiddle  and  the  stupid  fic 
titious  defence  set  up  afterwards,2  taken  along  with  what  we 
know  of  how  I  sis  Unveiled  was  produced,3  would  suggest 
that  the  same  mind  produced  both ;  but  there  is  direct  and 
convincing  evidence  as  well.  There  are  multitudes  of  errors 
in  the  English  of  these  letters,  errors  in  spelling,  errors  in 
dividing  words  at  the  end  of  a  line,  and  errors  in  idiom ; 
and  almost  every  one  of  them  can  be  paralleled  in  Madame 
Blavatsky's  acknowledged  correspondence.  This  was  one 
of  the  forms  of  evidence  which  convinced  Mr.  Hodgson  as 
to  their  authorship.  Here  are  lists  of  some  of  the  more 
noticeable  of  these  errors : 

1  See,  for  example,  the  letter  reproduced  in  Collapse,  pp.  32-34,  and  the 
first  letter  on  p.  211  of  Proceedings,  IX. 

2  Pp.  231-2,  above.  3  Pp.  223-5,  above. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       257 

a.  Misspells,    your's,   her's,   fulfill,   dispell,   thiefs,   leasure, 
quarreling,  marshaling,  alloted,  in  totto,  circumstancial,  defense. 

b.  Faulty  division  of  words  at  the  end  of  a  line,     incessan-tly, 
direc-tly,     una-cquainted,     fun-ctions,     discer-ning,     rea-ding, 
rea-dily,    po-werless,    atmos-phere,    des-pite,    corres-pondence, 
En-glishman,  En-glish,  misunders-tood. 

c.  Faulty  idioms.     I  give  you  an  advice ;   who,  ever  since  he 
is  here,  has  been  influencing  him ;   we  mortals  never  have  and 
will  agree  on  any  subject  entirely ;   one  who  understands  toler 
ably  well  English ;  you  felt  impatient  and  believed  having  rea 
sons  to  complain ;   to  take  care  of  themselves  and  of  their  here 
after  the  best  they  know  how ;  —  the  best  she  knew  how ; 
that  the  world  will  not  believe  in  our  philosophy  unless  it  is 
convinced  of  it  proceeding  from  reliable  — ;    there  are  those, 
who,  rather  than  to  yield  to  the  evidence  of  fact ;   in  a  direct 
course  or  along  hundred  of  side-furrows ;   their  active  mentality 
preventing  them  to  receive  clear  outside  impressions ;  provided 
you  consent  to  wait  and  did  not  abuse  of  the  situation ;  Immu 
table  laws  cannot  arise  since  they  are  eternal  and  uncreated, 
propelled  in  the  Eternity  and  that  God  himself  —  if  such  a  thing 
existed  —  could  never  have  the  power  of  stopping  them;    so 
more  the  pity  for  him.1 

It  must  also  be  noticed  here  that  Mr.  Sinnett's  books  are 
no  faithful  representation  of  the  Ms.  letters.  Most  of  the 
above  errors,  and  many  other  awkward  words  and  phrases, 
have  been  corrected ; 2  and  the  passage  plagiarized  from  Mr. 
Kiddle 3  is  dropped  altogether  from  the  text  in  the  later 
editions,  and  no  note  is  appended  to  tell  readers  of  the  omis 
sion.  This  way  of  dealing  with  the  Mss.  is  the  more  serious 
because  Mr.  Sinnett  says  on  p.  100 : 4 

The  reader  must  be  careful  to  remember,  however,  as  I  now  f 
most  unequivocally  affirm,  that  I  shall  in  no  case  alter  one  % 
syllable  of  the  passages  actually  quoted. 

1  Proceedings,  IX,  306-7.  2  Ib)  IX>  3OS 

3  See  p.  231,  above. 

4  I.e.  of  the  ist  edition,  p.  69  of  the  3rd  and  p.  85  of  the  8th  edition. 


258    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

Readers  will  form  their  own  opinion  of  Theosophic  editorial 
methods.1  At  a  later  date,  Mr.  W.  Emmette  Coleman, 
whom  we  have  already  mentioned,2  brought  forward  a 
great  mass  of  evidence  of  a  different  kind,  which  completely 
confirms  Mr.  Hodgson's  conclusion.  Here  is  his  general 
statement : 

Esoteric  Buddhism,  by  A.  P.  Sinnett,  was  based  upon  state 
ments  in  letters  received  by  Mr.  Sinnett  and  Mr.  A.  O.  Hume, 
through  Madame  Blavatsky,  purporting  to  be  written  by  the 
Mahatmas  Koot  Hoomi  and  Morya,  —  principally  the  former. 
Mr.  Richard  Hodgson  has  kindly  lent  me  a  considerable  number 
of  the  original  letters  of  the  Mahatmas  leading  to  the  production 
of  Esoteric  Buddhism.  I  find  in  them  overwhelming  evidence 
that  all  of  them  were  written  by  Madame  Blavatsky,  which 
evidence  will  be  presented  in  full  in  my  book.  In  these  letters 
are  a  number  of  extracts  from  Buddhist  books,  alleged  to  be 
translations  from  the  originals  by  the  Mahatmic  writers  them 
selves.  These  letters  claim  for  the  adepts  a  knowledge  of  San 
skrit,  Thibetan,  Pali,  and  Chinese.  I  have  traced  to  its  source 
each  quotation  from  the  Buddhist  scriptures  in  the  letters,  and 
]  they  were  all  copied  from  current  English  translations,  including 
.  even  the  notes  and  explanations  of  the  English  translators. 
They  were  principally  copied  from  Beal's  Catena  of  Buddhist 
Scriptures  from  the  Chinese.  In  other  places  where  the  adept 
(?)  is  using  his  own  language  in  explanation  of  Buddhistic  terms 
and  ideas,  I  find  that  his  presumed  original  language  was  copied 
nearly  word  for  word  from  Rhys  Davids's  Buddhism,  and  other 
books.  I  have  traced  every  Buddhistic  idea  in  these  letters 
and  in  Esoteric  Buddhism,  and  every  Buddhistic  term,  such  as 
Devachan,  Avitchi,  etc.,  to  the  books  whence  Helena  Petrovna 
Blavatsky  derived  them.  Although  said  to  be  proficient  in  the 
knowledge  of  Thibetan  and  Sanskrit,  the  words  and  terms  in 
these  languages  in  the  letters  of  the  adepts  were  nearly  all  used  in 
a  ludicrously  erroneous  and  absurd  manner.  The  writer  of  these 
letters  was  an  ignoramus  in  Sanskrit  and  Thibetan ;  and  the 
mistakes  and  blunders  in  them,  in  these  languages,  are  in  exact 

1  See  also  what  M.  Solovyoff  reports,  MPI.,  157. 

2  See  above,  pp.  223-4. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       259 

accordance  with  the  known  ignorance  of  Madame  Blavatsky 
thereanent.  Esoteric  Buddhism,  like  all  of  Madame  Blavatsky's 
works,  was  based  upon  wholesale  plagiarism  and  ignorance.1 

There  is  another  fact.  Most  of  these  letters  were  written 
on  a  peculiar  sort  of  hand-made  rice-paper.  After  Madame 
Blavatsky's  death,  Judge  fabricated  a  large  number  of 
Mahatma  letters,  as  we  shall  see;  and  they  too  were 
written  on  this  peculiar  paper.  Olcott  then  told  his 
Theosophic  friends  that  he  himself  had  bought  a  quantity 
of  this  paper  in  Jummoo,  Cashmere,  in  1883  ;  that  Madame 
Blavatsky  always  carried  a  supply  of  it  about  with  her ; 
and  that  Judge  must  have  abstracted  some  of  it  from  her 
rooms  in  London.2  M.  Solovyoff  tells  us  that,  in  a  drawer 
of  Madame  Blavatsky's  writing-table  in  Wurzburg,  he  saw 
a  packet  of  envelopes  of  this  very  paper.3  Hence  no  serious 
student  will  doubt  how  these  letters  were  composed. 

s.  Mr.  Sinnett  published  a  defence  of  the  occult  phe 
nomena  in  1886.  Then  Mrs.  Besant  attempted  to  answer 
Hodgson's  Report  in  an  article  in  Time  in  March,  1891.  It 
is  astounding  to  discover  that  for  most  of  the  evidence 
which  Mr.  Sinnett  and  Mrs.  Besant  bring,  they  rely  on  the 
pamphlet,  Report  of  the  Result  of  an  Investigation,  etc.,4  which 
was  chiefly  compiled  by  Dr.  Hartmann,  Madame  Blavatsky's 
"liar,  cunning  and  vindictive,"  5  and  which,  within  two 
months  of  its  publication,  was  publicly  repudiated  by  the 
leaders  of  Theosophy  in  India,6  Dr.  Hartmann  himself 
having  acknowledged  it  to  be  untrustworthy.7 

Mr.  Hodgson  overwhelmed  these  articles  with  a  reply 
in  1893 .8  Yet  Mrs.  Besant  published  H.  P.  Blavatsky  and 
the  Masters  of  the  Wisdom  in  1907,  using  the  old  repudiated 


1  MPI.,  363-4.  2  Isis  Very  Much  Unveiled,  49 ;  below,  p.  268. 

3  MPL,  152.     4  Above,  p.  249.     8  Above,  p.  248.      6  Above,  p.  254 

7  Proceedings,  XXIV,  145  ;  above,  p.  251. 

8  Ib.,  XXIV,  129-159. 


260     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

source,  and  repeating  certain  shameful  slanders,  without 
even  mentioning  Hodgson's  replies.  Nothing  has  done  so 
much  to  shake  my  confidence  in  Mrs.  Besant's  honesty  as 
my  study  of  this  dreadful  document.  All  later  attempts 
at  defence  depend  almost  entirely  on  its  statements.  These 
books  and  pamphlets  are  by  far  the  most  unreliable  litera 
ture  that  it  has  ever  been  my  sad  fate  to  have  to  study. 
A  few  samples  of  their  quality  are  given  in  the  Appendix, 

P-  447- 

12.  A  new  myth  was  created  in  1885.     According  to  the 
teaching  of  all  the  wise  and  good  of  the  ancient  world,  the 
goddess  Isis  lifted  her  veil  only  to  those  who  had  lived  lives 
of  perfect  chastity.     Now  Madame  Blavatsky,  according 
to  Theosophic  legend,  was   chosen  by  the   Masters  from 
amongst  all  modern  men  and  women  to  receive  the  ancient 
wisdom  in  limitless   measure   from   the   highest   sources. 
She  unveiled  Isis.     Hence  during  the  autumn  of   1885, 
while  she  was  at  Wlirzburg,  Germany,  she  began  to  tell  her 
friends,  that,  despite  her  marriage  to  M.  Blavatsky,  despite 
many  stories  told  of  her  after  life,  and  despite  her  American 
marriage,1  she  had  through  all  remained  a  spotless  virgin.2 
Yet  this  is  the  woman  whose  confessions  of  gross  and  long- 
continued  immorality  live  in  her  own  letters  to  M.  Aksakoff 
and  to  M.  Solo vy off.3    We  are  thus  driven  to  acknowledge 
that  she  was  capable  of  stupendous  hypocrisy  in  addition 
to  everything  else.     This  myth  has  to  be  carefully  borne  in 
mind  in  the  study  of  Theosophic  literature  written  after 
1885. 

13.  1888  proved  one  of  the  most  remarkable  years  in 
Madame  Blavatsky's  life.     From  that  year  dates  the  Eso 
teric  School  of  Theosophy,  which  since  then  has  been  the 
kernel  and  the  strength  of  the  society.     In  the  same  year  she 
published  her  greatest  work,  The  Secret  Doctrine.    Then  also 

1  See  above,  p.  221.        z  MPL,  139-141.        8  See  above,  pp.  211-3. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS        261 

Mr.  G.  R.  S.  Mead,  now  editor  of  The  Quest,  became  her 
private  secretary.  He  retained  the  position  until  her  death 
in  1891. 

The  Esoteric  School  was  created  in  order  to  initiate  young 
Theosophists  into  the  practice  of  occultism.  The  work 
was  carried  on  in  classes,  each  under  the  guidance  of  a  secre- ) 
tary.  A  good  deal  of  the  instruction  was  taken  from  Ms. 
material  prepared  by  Madame  Blavatsky  and  afterwards 
published  in  the  third  volume  of  The  Secret  Doctrine.  Each 
person  initiated  had  to  take  two  vows :  to  defend  and  ad 
vance  the  cause  of  Theosophy  as  far  as  lay  in  his  power; 
and  not  to  reveal  anything  taught  in  the  Esoteric  School. 
Each  pupil  received  also  a  photograph1  of  a  (pretended) 
portrait  of  one  of  the  Masters  and  was  bid  gaze  on  it 
fixedly  during  meditation  and  try  to  visualize  it  in  the 
corners  of  the  room.  The  occultism  of  the  school  at  this 
time  seems  to  have  been  rather  different  to  what  it  has 
become  under  Mrs.  Besant  and  Mr.  Leadbeater. 

It  was  in  October,  1888,  that  The  Secret  Doctrine  was  pub 
lished.  In  the  Introduction  the  authoress  assures  us  that 
the  teaching  it  contains  comes  from  her  Masters,  who  reside 
beyond  the  Himalayas.  The  truth  it  contains  is  now  "per 
mitted  to  see  the  light  after  long  milleniums  of  the  most 
profound  silence  and  secrecy."  The  reason  why  "the  out 
line  of  a  few  fundamental  truths  from  the  Secret  Doctrine 
of  the  Archaic  Ages"  is  now  revealed  is  because  European 
scholars  during  the  nineteenth  century  have  been  studying 
the  religions  of  Egypt,  India  and  other  lands  and  have  been 
publishing  to  the  world  utterly  false  and  misleading  ac 
counts  of  these  great  systems.2 

The  whole  book  is  founded  on  what  she  calls  "The  Book 
of  Dzyan,"  which  consists  of  nineteen  stanzas,  and,  accord 
ing  to  Madame  Blavatsky,  is  a  very  ancient  work.     It  is 
^ee  above,  pp.  169,  170,  179.  2  Pp.  xxi-xxii. 


262     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

altogether  unknown  to  European  scholars;  no  copy  of  it 
lies  in  any  European  library ;  yet,  she  asserts,  that  it  exists 
in  one  of  the  mysterious  libraries  of  Tibet,  in  which  are  con 
cealed  all  the  sacred  and  philosophical  works  that  have  ever 
been  written,  in  whatever  language  or  characters,  since  the 
art  of  writing  began.1 

The  Secret  Doctrine  is  in  two  volumes,  the  first,  on  Cos- 
mogenesis,  being  founded  on  the  first  seven  stanzas  of  the 
Book  of  Dzyan,  and  the  second,  on  Anthropogenesis,  being 
founded  on  the  remaining  twelve.  In  this  work  readers 
will  find  Theosophy  as  it  is  actually  taught  to-day.  The 
doctrine  is  much  more  developed  and  definite  than  it  is  in 
I  sis  Unveiled.  Here  the  formation  of  the  worlds  and  the 
evolution  of  man  are  treated  in  detail.  As  in  the  Isis,  the 
treatment  is  unscientific  in  character  throughout. 

Analysis  has  shewn  that  large  portions  of  the  book  were 
compiled  in  the  same  way  as  so  much  of  the  Isis  was  built 
up.2  Hundreds  of  passages  were  borrowed  without  acknow 
ledgment  from  modern  books.  Mr.  Coleman  writes  as 
follows : 

A  specimen  of  the  wholesale  plagiarisms  in  this  book  appears 
in  Vol.  II,  pp.  599-603.  Nearly  the  whole  of  four  pages  was 
copied  from  Oliver's  Pythagorean  Triangle,  while  only  a  few 
lines  were  credited  to  that  work.  Considerable  other  matter  in 
Secret  Doctrine  was  copied,  uncredited,  from  Oliver's  work. 
Donnelly's  Atlantis  was  largely  plagiarised  from.  Madame 
Blavatsky  not  only  borrowed  from  this  writer  the  general  idea 
of  the  derivation  of  Eastern  civilization,  mythology,  etc.,  from 
Atlantis ;  but  she  coolly  appropriated  from  him  a  number  of  the 
alleged  detailed  evidences  of  this  derivation,  without  crediting 
him  therewith.  Vol.  II,  pp.  790-793,  contains  a  number  of  facts, 
numbered  seriatim,  said  to  prove  this  Atlantean  derivation. 

These  facts  were  almost  wholly  copied  from  Donnelly's  book, 
ch.  IV.,  where  they  are  also  numbered  seriatim ;  but  there  is  no 

1  Pp.  xxiii-xxiv.  2  Above,  pp.  223-5. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       263 

intimation  in  Secret  Doctrine  that  its  author  was  indebted  to 
Donnelly's  book  for  this  mass  of  matter.  In  addition  to  those 
credited,  there  are  130  passages  from  Wilson's  Vishnu  Purana 
copied  uncredited ;  and  there  are  some  70  passages  from  Win- 
chell's  World  Life  not  credited.  From  Dowson's  Hindu  Classi 
cal  Dictionary,  1 23  passages  were  plagiarised.  From  Decharme's 
Mythologie  de  la  Grece  Antique,  about  60  passages  were  plagi 
arised  ;  from  Myer's  Qabbala,  34.  These  are  some  of  the  other 
books  plagiarised  from :  Kenealy's  Book  of  God,  Faber's  Cabiri, 
Wake's  Great  Pyramid,  Gould's  Mythical  Monsters,  Joly's 
Man  before  Metals,  Stallo's  Modern  Physics,  Massey's  Natural 
Genesis,  Mackey's  Mythological  Astronomy,  Schmidt's  Descent 
and  Darwinism,  Quatrefage's  Human  Species,  Laing's  Modern 
Science  and  Modern  Thought,  Mather's  Cabbala  Unveiled, 
Maspero's  Musee  de  Boulaq,  Ragon's  Maconnerie  Occulte, 
Lefevre's  Philosophy,  and  Buchner's  Force  and  Matter. 

The  Book  of  Dzyan  was  the  work  of  Madame  Blavatsky  — 
a  compilation,  in  her  own  language,  from  a  variety  of  scources, 
embracing  the  general  principles  of  the  doctrines  and  dogmas 
taught  in  the  Secret  Doctrine.  I  find  in  this  "oldest  book  in  the 
world"  statements  copied  from  nineteenth  century  books,  and 
in  the  usual  blundering  manner  of  Madame  Blavatsky.  Letters 
and  other  writings  of  the  adepts  are  found  in  the  Secret  Doctrine. 
In  these  Mahatmic  productions  I  have  traced  various  plagiarised 
passages  from  Wilson's  Vishnu  Purana  and  Winchell's  World 
Life,  —  of  like  character  to  those  in  Madame  Blavatsky's 
acknowledged  writings.  Detailed  proofs  of  this  will  be  given  in 
my  book.  I  have  also  traced  the  source  whence  she  derived  the 
word  Dzyan.1 

It  is  greatly  to  be  regretted  that  Coleman's  promised, 
book  never  appeared.  The  evidence  he  had  accumulated' 
would  have  been  interesting  in  the  extreme.  His  library  was- 
destroyed  in  the  fire  which  followed  the  great  earthquake  in 
San  Francisco  in  1906 ;  and  he  died  in  1909.  The  third 
edition  of  The  Secret  Doctrine,  edited  and  published  in  London 
in  1897,  gives  references  to  a  considerable  proportion  of  the 

lMPI.,pp.  358-9. 


264     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

borrowed  passages  which  Coleman  speaks  of ;  so  that  there 
is  no  question  about  them.  But  Theosophists  who  have 
studied  the  work  carefully,  while  willing  to  acknowledge  the 
presence  of  these  recognized  quotations,  believe  that  the 
book  of  Dzyan  and  certain  other  passages  cannot  be  traced 
to  modern  works.  Since  Mr.  Coleman  did  not  publish  his 
studies,  the  question  is  still  undecided. 

14.  Madame  Blavatsky1  died  at  the  age  of  sixty  on  the 
8th  of  May,  1891. 

It  may  be  well  to  introduce  here  a  pen-and-ink  portrait 
of  her  which  appeared  recently : 

She  was  playing  her  usual  game  of  "  Patience  "  when  I  came 
upon  her  first  of  all  one  evening.  She  looked  up  and  arrested 
your  attention  by  the  steady  gaze  of  her  large,  pale  blue  eyes. 
Most  people  regarded  them  as  the  redeeming  feature  of  an 
otherwise  excessively  plain  face.  They  were  set  to  advantage 
in  a  somewhat  wide  angle  on  either  side  of  what  did  duty  for  a 
nose  but  which  she  playfully  described  as  "  no  nose  at  all,  but  a 
button."  Her  mouth  was  wide  with  lips  that  were  close-set, 
thin,  and  mobile,  and  when  she  laughed  she  opened  her  mouth 
and  eyes  wide  with  the  abandon  of  a  child.  I  have  never  seen 
a  woman  of  mature  years  laugh  with  such  child-like  natural 
ness  as  she.  Her  complexion  may  be  described  as  coffee- 
coloured,  a  yellowish  brown,  and  the  face  had  no  square  inch 
that  was  not  scored  by  a  thousand  wrinkles.  This  and  the  whites 
cf  her  eyes,  which  were  not  white  at  all  but  yellow,  gave  one 
the  impression  of  " liver"  or  the  tropics,  and  either  would  have 
been  a  safe  guess.  The  size  and  shape  of  her  head  was  very 
remarkable.  No  student  of  phrenology  would  convict  her  of 
material  tendencies  or  attribute  to  her  anything  but  a  highly 
spiritual  and  intellectual  nature,  for  the  vault  of  the  head  from 
the  bore  of  the  ear  upwards  was  exceptionally  high,  as  was 
also  the  forward  development,  and  these  were  sustained  by  an 
adequately  broad  base,  while  the  lateral  development  was  com 
paratively  insignificant.  Her  iron-grey  crinkly  hair  ran  in 
fascinating  little  ripples  to  where  it  was  gathered  in  the  most 
1  See  her  portrait,  Plate  IX,  facing  p.  195. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       265 

unconventional  of  knots  on  the  nape  of  the  neck,  as  if  it  were 
something  to  be  got  out  of  the  way  merely,  and  stuck  through 
with  a  broad  comb.  The  inevitable  cigarette  called  immediate 
attention  to  her  hands.  They  were  really  beautiful  hands,  but 
uncanny ;  so  like  a  child's  with  their  dimples  and  soft  cushions ; 
and  every  phalange  of  her  lithe,  tapering  ringers  was  double- 
jointed.  They  seemed  to  be  endowed  with  a  life  of  their  own. 
They  were  seldom  still  for  more  than  a  few  seconds  together. 
Later  on  she  gave  some  sort  of  reason  for  this.  Holding  her 
hands  perfectly  still  over  a  table,  the  palms  curved  so  as  to 
form  a  sort  of  inverted  cup,  she  remained  so  for  perhaps  two 
minutes  or  more,  when  suddenly  there  was  a  loud  explosion  like 
the  crack  of  a  rifle  and  one  expected  to  see  that  the  table  itself 
had  split  from  end  to  end.1 

She  was  a  woman  of  very  unusual  powers.  Her  personality 
was  potent  and  attractive  in  a  very  high  degree.  She  had 
great  gifts  as  a  story-teller  and  conversationalist.  She  was 
greatly  loved  by  her  friends,  and  was  most  affectionate  to 
them  in  turn.  She  drew  people  towards  her,  and  won  their 
confidence,  influencing  every  one  who  came  within  her 
radius  so  deeply  that  people  found  it  hard  to  escape  from  her 
control.  She  had  the  genius  to  will  and  to  rule.  She  was 
what  Theosophists  call  "  a  psychic  "  of  a  very  high  order. 
This  word  denotes  those  little-understood  sympathies  and 
faculties  which  make  the  spiritualistic  medium,  the  telep- 
athist,  the  thought-reader,  the  clairvoyant,  the  hypnotist. 
Probably  some  of  the  lesser  phenomena  which  she  exhibited 
were  quite  real.  She  was  also  a  woman  of  great  energy 
and  industry ;  for,  in  spite  of  frequent  illness  and  racking 
pain,  she  worked  almost  incessantly  for  many  years.  She 
had  the  shaping  gift  of  imagination,  which,  combined  with 
a  natural  power  of  direct  and  telling  expression,  enabled  her 
to  produce  books  which  have  captivated  thousands. 

In  character  she  was  an  extraordinary  mixture.     She  was 

1 W.  R.  Corn  Old  in  the  Occult  Review  of  March,  1914. 


266     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

bountifully  generous  to  her  friends  and  to  every  one  in  need. 
She  was  devoted  to  her  family  and  her  country.  She  must 
have  had  sterling  qualities  to  inspire  friends  as  she  did. 
Yet  Colonel  Olcott  tells  us  that  she  was  not  loyal  to  her 
friends,  that  she  used  them  all  as  pawns ; 1  and  another 
unimpeachable  witness  says,  "You  never  knew  when  you 
had  her."  We  have  already  seen  how  far  she  was  from 
being  truthful ;  and  all  who  knew  her  say  she  was  extremely 
unguarded  with  her  tongue,  and  also  with  her  pen.2  She 
was  liable  to  outbursts  of  furious  rage,  when  her  great 
face  became  livid  with  passion  and  almost  demonic  in  ex 
pression.3  She  would  then  execrate  every  one  in  appalling 
language,  and  make  the  most  outrageous  statements  which 
were  not  meant  to  be  taken  seriously.4  She  expected  those 
who  loved  her  to  do  for  her  whatever  she  asked  :  conscience 
had  no  rights  as  compared  with  friendship.5  Seen  against 
this  background  of  elemental  character,  the  colossal  frauds 
and  pretences  of  her  Theosophic  career  seem  a  little  more 
credible  than  they  do  at  first  sight. 

The  truth  is,  she  is  best  described  as  a  Bohemian.  She 
was  always  smoking,6  was  loose  in  speech  and  in  manner, 
took  her  freedom  in  everything.7  She  was  as  far  as  possible 
from  being  a  saint.8  She  hated  all  conventions,  and  enjoyed 
nothing  so  much  as  tilting  at  them  and  breaking  through 
them.  Indeed,  from  her  own  point  of  view,  the  whole 
propaganda  was  but  a  half-serious,  half-comic  attack  on 
the  solemn  sobrieties  and  stupidities  of  modern  science  and 

1 ODL.,  I,  463. 

2  MPI.,  71.     This   accounts  in  some  degree  for  the  recklessness  with 
which  she  wrote  masses  of  compromising  material  to  Madame  Coulomb. 
Most  of  her  letters  show  this  characteristic. 

3  Sinnett,  Incidents,  18,  19;  ODL.,  I,  463 ;  MPI.,  152.     4  ODL.,  I,  463. 
6  MPI.,  59.  6  ODL.,  I,  449-453.  7  Ib.,  440-462. 

8  Cf.  her  own  words  to  M.  Solovyoff ,  "I  am  by  no  means  a  saint ;  I  am 
far  from  being  one,  little  father."  MPI.,  19. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       267 

the  strait-laced  ideas  of  Christianity.     Her  volcanic  tem 
perament  and   surging   senses   rebelled   against  all   such 
things.     Yet  she  was  serious  also.     She  saw  that  there  was 
much  more  in  ancient  occultism  and  magic  than  the  middle 
nineteenth  century  could  believe,  and  she  was  convinced 
that  Hinduism  and  Buddhism  deserved  better  treatment 
than  they  had  received.     Despite  all  that  she  wrote  about  | 
Christianity,  the  Orthodox  Greek  Church  still  touched  her  • 
heart. 

LITERATURE.  —  N.B.  Books  marked  with  an  asterisk  to  be  used 
with  extreme  caution.  —  HISTORY  :  *  Old  Diary  Leaves,  by  H.  S. 
Olcott,  New  York,  Putnam's  Sons,  four  vols.,  1895,  1900,  1904, 
1906,  6s.  net  each.  *  Incidents  in  the  Life  of  Madame  Blavatsky, 
by  A.  P.  Sinnett,  London,  Redway,  1886,  new  edition,  T.  P.  S.  1913. 
A  Modern  Priestess  of  Isis,  by  V.  S.  Solovyoff,  translated  by  Walter 
Leaf,  London,  Longmans,  1895,  out  of  print.  TEACHING  AND 
PHENOMENA  :  *  The  Occult  World,  by  A.  P.  Sinnett,  London,  Triib- 
ner,  1881.  *  Esoteric  Buddhism,  by  A.  P.  Sinnett,  London,  Triib- 
ner,  1883.  THE  MADRAS  EXPOSURE  :  The  Collapse  of  Root  Hoomi, 
Madras,  C.  L.  S.  I.,  1904,  as.  4.  Proceedings  of  the  Society  for 
Psychical  Research,  IX,  pp.  201-400,  London,  Triibner,  1885, 
45.  6d.;  XXIV,  129-159,  London,  Triibner,  1893,  35.  6d.  Also 
Solovyoff's  Modern  Priestess' of  Isis.  For  THEOSOPHIC  DEFENCES, 
see  Appendix.  MADAME  BLAVATSKY'S  WORKS  :  Isis  Unveiled,  New 
York,  Bouton,  London,  Quaritch,  1877,  2  vols.  (Point  Loma 
Edition,  18  Bartlett's  Buildings,  London,  E.  C.,  175.)  The  Secret 
Doctrine,  London,  T.  P.  S.,  1888,  2  vols.  (A  reprint  of  this  edition, 
Point  Loma,  1909,  425.)  Third  volume,  London,  T.  P.  S.,  1897. 
Third  edition  revised  and  annotated,  London,  T.  P.  S.,  3  vols.  505. 

Mrs.  Besant 

In  1888  Mr.  W.  T.  Stead,  editor  of  The  Review  of  Reviews, 
handed  Mrs.  Besant  a  copy  of  The  Secret  Doctrine  to  review ; 
and  that  book  made  her  a  follower  of  Madame  Blavatsky.  f 
She  passed  at  one  leap  from  Atheism  to  Theosophy ;  and,  ^ 
since  the  death  of  the  foundress,  she  has  been  by  far  the 
most  potent  personality  within  the  society. 


268     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

From  the  beginning  Olcott  had  been  President  and  Judge 
Vice-President,  while  Madame  Blavatsky  herself  had  only 
held  the  position  of  Corresponding  Secretary.  When  she 
died,  Judge  cabled  from  America  to  the  London  office,  "Do 
nothing  till  I  come."  Within  a  few  days  after  his  arrival 
in  London,  he  produced  two  messages  which  he  declared 
had  been  sent  by  the  Master  Morya,  Madame  Blavatsky's 
own  special  monitor.  Mrs.  Besant  accepted  the  missives 
as  genuine,  and  publicly  proclaimed  in  a  great  meeting  in 
London  that  there  could  be  no  doubt  about  the  existence 
of  the  Mahatmas,  as  communications  had  been  received 
from  them  since  the  death  of  Madame  Blavatsky.  These 
messages  continued  to  arrive.  Mr.  Judge's  wisdom  and  the 
high  place  which  he  ought  to  have  in  the  Society  was  their 
constant  burden.  Mrs.  Besant  was  convinced  of  their 
genuineness ;  Olcott  was  in  India ;  and  in  consequence 
Judge  rose  to  great  prominence  in  the  movement.  As  a 
result  of  some  of  these  wonderful  epistles  Olcott  was  so 
cowed  that  he  actually  resigned  his  position  as  President 
of  the  Society  early  in  1892.  Shortly  afterwards  he  with 
drew  his  resignation,  but  at  first  without  effect ;  for  at  the 
Annual  Convention  of  1892  Judge  was  elected  President  for 
life.  This  election,  however,  does  not  appear  to  have  been 
ratified.  fi.  little  later  Mrs.  Besant  went  to  India.  When 
all  the  documents  were  laid  before  Olcott,  it  became  clear  to 
him  that  Judge  had  forged  them,  and  that  he  had  abstracted 
from  Madame  Blavatsky's  rooms  in  London  the  hand-made 
rice-paper  1  on  which  they  were  written  and  the  seal  with 
which  most  of  them  were  sealed.  Mrs.  Besant  examined  all 
the  evidence  and  recognized  Judge's  guilt.  Olcott  then 
wrote  to  Judge  on  the  I2th  of  February,  1894,  giving  him  the 
option  of  (a)  retiring  from  all  the  offices  he  held  in  the  Theo- 

1  It  was  the  same  paper  as  the  Koot  Hoomi  letters  were  written  on. 
See  above,  p.  259. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE   OLD   RELIGIONS       269 

sophical  Society,  and  leaving  Olcott  to  make  a  general  public 
explanation  or  (b)  having  a  Judicial  Committee  convened 
and  the  whole  of  the  proceedings  made  public.  Judge  re 
fused  to  resign.  It  was  therefore  decided  that  all  the  docu 
ments  should  be  placed  in  Mrs.  Besant's  hands,  that  she 
should  preside  over  a  judicial  inquiry  to  be  held  at  the 
Annual  Convention  in  London  in  July,  1894,  and  that  all 
the  evidence  should  be  published.  This  latter  pledge  was 
given  in  order  to  satisfy  Indian  Theosophists,  who  were  in 
sistent  that  the  fraud  should  be  exposed. 

But,  when  the  Judicial  Committee  met,  Olcott  and  Judge 
being  present  as  well  as  Mrs.  Besant,  a  most  extraordinary 
thing  happened.  After  most  serious  deliberation,  the 
Committee  came  to  the  conclusion  that  it  was  contrary 
to  Theosophic  principles  to  decide  whether  Judge  was 
guilty  or  not.  TJie  trial  was  impossible !  It  was  also 
agreed  that  the  evidence  which  had  been  gathered  should 
not  be  published.  Clearly,  the  inner  history  of  this  most 
shameful  transaction  is  that  Judge,  who  knew  all  that  had 
happened  in  Madras  in  1884  and  much  else,  threatened 
that,  if  he  were  exposed,  he  would  expose  everybody,  but 
agreed  to  continue  to  work  with  the  Colonel  and  Mrs. 
Besant  on  condition  that  the  affair  should  be  hushed  up  in 
such  a  way  that  his  character  should  not  suffer.  All  this 
the  leaders  endeavoured  to  carry  out. 

But  many  Theosophists  felt  that  such  immorality  must 
not  be  condoned  and  concealed.  One  of  the  officials,  Mr. 
W.  R.  Gorn  Old,  therefore  urged  the  leaders  at  the  London 
headquarters  to  have  the  evidence  published.  He  was  told 
that  that  was  impossible :  Mrs.  Besant  had  burned  all  the 
documents!  Like  Judge  in  Madras,1  she  had  found  fire 
a  most  convenient  means  for  getting  rid  of  inconvenient 
evidence.  But  she  did  not  know  that,  before  the  incrimi- 
1  See  above,  pp.  241-2. 


270     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

nating  documents  were  handed  over  to  her  in  India,  fac 
simile  copies  of  all  had  been  taken  by  Mr.  Old.  Even  when 
he  made  this  fact  known  at  headquarters,  and  offered  to 
hand  the  copies  over  for  publication,  the  leaders  refused  to 
act.  Then,  Mr.  Old,  disgusted  beyond  measure  because  the 
officials  would  not  carry  out  the  promise  made  in  India, 
that  all  the  evidence  should  be  published,  and  were  deter 
mined  as  far  as  possible  to  hide  the  fraud,  resigned  his  posi 
tion  and  left  the  society.  He  then  handed  over  the  fac 
similes  of  the  documents  to  his  friend,  Mr.  Edmund  Garrett ; 
and  the  whole  story  was  published  in  The  Westminster 
Gazette,  October  29-November  8,  1894.  It  was  there 
after  republished  in  book  form  under  the  title  Isis  Very 
Much  Unveiled.  For  his  action  Mr.  Old  was  vehemently 
attacked  by  Theosophists  as  a  traitor  and  a  pledge-breaker ; 
but,  if  Mrs.  Besant  and  Colonel  Olcott  were  justified  in 
promising  to  publish  all  the  evidence,  how  did  Mr.  Old  do 
wrong  in  doing  what  they  had  promised  to  do  ?  It  was  they 
who  broke  their  pledges.  He  was  also  charged  with  having 
done  it  from  sordid  motives.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  through 
resignation  of  his  offices  in  the  Society,  he  lost  a  comfortable 
income,  and  he  refused  the  honorarium  of  £80  offered  him 
by  the  editor  of  The  Westminster  Gazette  for  his  services. 

It  was  probably  this  most  unexpected  publication  of  the 
evidence,  blazoning  his  forgery  to  all  the  world,  that  drove 
Judge  to  the  next  step.  He  had  agreed  to  work  along  with 
Olcott  and  Mrs.  Besant ;  but,  now  that  the  evidence,  which 
they  had  gathered  against  him,  and  which  they  could  not 
repudiate,  had  been  published,  the  only  course  open  to  him 
was  to  deny  the  facts  and  pose  as  a  martyr.  This  he  did. 
He  broke  away  from  the  main  Theosophical  Society,  carry 
ing  with  him  a  majority  of  American  Theosophists.  These 
he  formed  into  the  Universal  Brotherhood  and  Theosophical 
Society,  and  was  elected  their  President  for  life.  He  lived, 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD   RELIGIONS       271 

however,  only  eleven  months  longer.  His  place  was  taken 
by  Mrs.  Katherine  Tingley.  The  headquarters  of  this 
rival  organization  are  at  Point  Loma,  California. 

Neither  Mrs.  Besant  nor  Colonel  Olcott  ever  attempted 
to  deny  any  of  the  statements  made  in  The  Westminster 
Gazette.  The  whole  fabric  of  gross  and  shameful  fraud  and 
concealment  stands  undeniable. 

Since  1893  Mrs.  Besant  has  spent  most  of  her  time  in 
India,  and  has  been  very  successful  in  building  up 
Theosophy  there.  Her  activity  has  run  in  the  main  along 
four  lines.  She  has  lectured  a  great  deal  in  every  part  of 
India,  making  the  defence  and  exposition  of  Hinduism  her 
chief  theme.  Secondly,  she  has  done  a  great  deal  for  the 
education  of  Hindus.  Hindus  had  established  many  col 
leges  between  1879  and  1898;  but,  like  Government  col 
leges,  they  gave  no  religious  instruction.  The  Central 
Hindu  College,  which  she  founded  in  Benares  in  1898,  is 
modelled  on  a  missionary  college,  Hinduism  taking  the  place 
of  Christianity.  From  that  centre  she  strove  to  spread 
this  type  of  education  throughout  the  Hindu  community, 
founding  schools  in  many  places  for  both  boys  and  girls. 
Thirdly,  she  has  proved  a  most  prolific  and  most  effective 
writer.  Tens  of  thousands  of  her  books  have  been  sold  in 
many  other  lands  as  well  as  India.  Lastly,  she  has  given 
a  good  deal  of  time  to  occultism ;  but  that  we  shall  deal 
with  later. 

Mr.  C.  W.  Leadbeater^  who  had  been  a  curate  of  the 
Church  of  England,  became  a  Theosophist  in  1884,  and 
since  that  time,  with  the  exception  of  a  break  of  some  four 
years,  he  has  been  one  of  the  officials  of  the  society.  He 
has  worked  in  India,  Ceylon,  America  and  England.  He 
is  a  very  able  writer. 

He  has  also  become  notorious  because  of  his  occult  in 
vestigations.  We  have  seen  that  a  secret  society  for  the 


272     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

practice  of  occultism  was  formed  within  the  Theosophic 
Society  by  Madame  Blavatsky  in  1888.  Since  her  death 
Mrs.  Besant  and  Mr.  Leadbeater  have  been  the  leaders 
of  the  Esoteric  School.  They  have  re-organized  the  School, 
introduced  a  hierarchy  of  gurus  and  systematized  the  in 
struction,  keeping  certain  very  definite  ends  in  view.  They 
have  also  conducted  a  long  series  of  occult  investigations 
themselves,  the  results  of  which  have  been  published  from 
time  to  time.  One  of  their  chief  methods  is  to  read  what 
they  call  the  Etheric  Record  of  past  events,1  and  thereby 
reconstruct  portions  of  ancient  history. 

Mr.  Leadbeater  on  one  occasion,  on  consulting  the  record, 
came  to  the  startling  conclusions,  that  Jesus  and  Christ 
were  two  distinct  persons ;  that  both  were  men,  neither 
being  the  Logos,  or  the  Son  of  God ;  that  Jesus  was  born  in 
105  B.C.  ;  that  Christ  was  the  great  Master ;  that  Jesus, 
wise  and  devoted  though  he  was,  merely  yielded  up  his  body 
for  Christ  to  use;  that  the  twelve  Apostles  never  lived; 
and  that  there  is  scarcely  a  scrap  of  historical  matter  in  the 
Gospels.  The  teaching  now  is  that  one  ego  was  incarnated 
at  a  very  early  date  as  Hermes,  again  as  Zoroaster,  then  as 
Orpheus,  finally  as  Gautama  the  Buddha.  Another  ego 
was  Christ.  He  used  the  body  of  Jesus  as  his  vehicle. 
Jesus  was  born  in  105  B.C.,  and  was  again  incarnated  as 
Apollonius  of  Tyana. 

Much  of  this  Mrs.  Besant  published  in  her  book,  Esoteric 
Christianity.  It  is  also  embodied  in  Mr.  Leadbeater's  own 
work,  The  Christian  Creed,  published  in  1904.  In  1903 
Mr.  G.  R.  S.  Mead  published  Did  Jesus  Live  100  B.C.?,  an 
attempt  to  collect  and  estimate  all  the  evidence  contained  in 
Talmudic  and  Christian  sources,  bearing  on  the  time  when 
Jesus  lived.  He  does  not  come  to  any  decision  on  the  main 
question. 

1  See  below,  p.  278. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       273 


5.  In  jgoj  certain  very  serious  charges  were  brought 
against  Mr.  Leadbeater.  He  was  then  in  England,  and  held 
the  office  of  Presidential  Delegate  in  the  British  section  of 
the  society.  It  was  said  that  he  had  given  immoral  teach 
ing  to  boys  in  America,  and  had  even  gone  the  length  of 
immoral  acts.  The  leaders  of  the  American  Section  of  the 
society  were  greatly  disturbed  over  the  matter,  and  wished 
to  have  him  expelled  from  the  society.  Since  they  did  not 
possess  this  power  themselves,  it  was  decided  that  they 
should  send  a  Commissioner  to  London  to  lay  the  matter 
before  Colonel  Olcott,  the  President-founder.  Colonel  01- 
cott  called  a  special  meeting,  consisting  of  the  Executive 
Committee  of  the  British  Section,  the  Commissioner  from 
America,  and  a  representative  from  France.  The  whole 
matter  was  carefully  discussed  and  Mr.  Leadbeater  was 
examined.  He  confessed  frankly  enough  to  the  charge 
of  having  given  a  number  of  boys  the  teaching  complained 
of;  and,  under  great  pressure,  he  acknowledged  that  he 
might  have  been  guilty  also  of  some  of  the  acts  complained 
of.  The  printed  minutes,  legally  authenticated,  lie  before 
me,  as  I  write  ;  so  that  there  can  be  no  question  as  to  the 
absolute  accuracy  of  these  statements.  Finally,  Mr. 
Leadbeater's  resignation  was  accepted,  and  he  dropped 
out  of  the  society.  Mrs.  Besant  declared  that  he  would  not 
be  restored  until  he  repudiated  his  opinions  on  these  matters. 

6.  Colonel  Olcott  died  early  in  1907,  and  Mrs^  Besant 
became  President  of  the  Theosophic  Society. 

7.  In   January,    1909,  Mrs.   Besant   announced   in   the 
Theosophist   that   the    General   Council    had    decided    to 
allow  Mr.   Leadbeater  to  return  to    the   society.      Since 
then  he  has  resided  at  the  headquarters  in  Madras.     He 
had  not  repudiated  his  teaching,  nor  has  he  yet  done  so. 
About  the  same  time  a  defence  of  his  teaching,  written  by 
an  American  Theosophist  named  Van  Hoek,  was  circulated 


274     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

in  the  Society.  Two  of  the  English  leaders,  backed  by 
many  members,  appealed  to  the  General  Council  to  with 
draw  this  document,  but  they  refused.  The  result  was 
that,  under  the  leadership  of  Mr.  G.  R.  S.  Mead,  a  body 
of  some  700  British  Theosophists,  including  nearly  all  the 
cultured  and  influential  members  in  the  country,  and  a 
number  in  other  lands,  left  the  society. 

8.  Since  the  moment  when  Mr.  Leadbeater  settled  at 
headquarters,  occultism  has  come  to  the  front,  and  is 
now  the  main  activity  of  the  society.  Nor  is  that  all. 
Mr.  Leadbeater  had  already  published  most  amazing  ac 
counts  of  what,  as  he  asserted,  he  had  seen  in  clairvoyance. 
But  these  were  readings  of  the  records  of  the  past ;  while 
prophecy  is  now  held  to  be  one  of  the  chief  functions  of 
occultism.  We  are  told  that  the  world  is  just  about  to 
enter  on  a  new  era  of  history.  A  great  World- teacher  will 
very  soon  enter  upon  his  work.  The  human  being  whose 
body  is  to  be  the  physical  vehicle  for  the  ego  of  this  World- 
teacher  is  already  in  the  Theosophical  Society,  and  is  to  be 
trained  for  his  task  by  Mrs.  Besant  and  Mr.  Leadbeater. 
Mrs.  Besant  will  soon  be  seen  to  be  one  of  the  greatest  rulers 
of  the  world  of  gods  and  men.  Even  those  who  stand  near 
est  to  her  scarcely  realize  how  great  she  is,  and  will  be. 
Mrs.  Besant,  in  turn,  affirms  that  Mr.  Leadbeater  is  a  most 
exalted  being,  on  the  very  threshold  of  divinity.  In  conse 
quence,  both  these  leaders  and  the  Madrasi  boy  who  is  to 
be  the  vehicle  of  the  coming  Teacher  are  adored  and  praised 
by  lowly  bending  groups  of  Theosophic  initiates. 

It  was  only  gradually  that  all  this  was  made  public. 
Clearly,  however,  most  careful  preparation  had  been  made 
for  the  supreme  announcement.  The  new  policy  is  meant  to 
be  a  master-stroke  to  capture  at  once  Christianity,  Bud 
dhism  and  Hinduism  for  the  Theosophical  Society.  In 
England  the  coming  one  was  called  Christ,  while  in  India 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD   RELIGIONS       275 

and  Ceylon  he  was  called  the  Bodhisattva  or  Maitreya. 
He  is  said  to  be  the  ego  which  used  the  body  of  Jesus  and 
was  then  called  Christ.  A  new  world-wide  organization 
was  created  to  prepare  people  for  the  Epiphany.  At  first 
it  was  called  the  Order  of  the  Rising  Sun,  but  three  months 
later  l  was  changed  to  the  Order  of  the  Star  in  the  East.  .&(*** 
A  most  urgent  propaganda  was  launched  among  the  stu 
dents  of  the  Hindu  College,  Benares,  in  all  the  Theosophic 
lodges  of  the  world,  and  among  Christian  people  in  England 
and  elsewhere. 

One  of  the  most  extraordinary  accompaniments  of  this 
startling  movement  has  been  the  publication  of  a  book, 
written  by  Mrs.  Besant  and  Mr.  Leadbeater  in  collabora 
tion,  and  called  Man:  Whence,  How  and  Whither.  This 
work  is  essentially  a  vast  mythology,  stretching  away  back 
some  thirty  thousand  years.  It  is  the  pretended  record  of 
the  repeated  incarnations  of  the  small  group  of  people  at 
present  resident  at  the  Theosophic  headquarters  at  Adyar, 
Madras;  and  what  we  are  asked  to  believe  is  that  we 
have  in  the  history  represented  in  this  record  the  prepara 
tion  for  the  great  events  that  will  take  place,  when  the  great 
World-teacher  makes  his  appearance.  For  example,  we  are 
told  that  in  13,500  B.C.  "Jesus"  was  the  wife  of  an  emperor 
of  southern  India,  while  in  12,800  B.C.  he  was  the  brother  of 
Madame  Marie-Louise  Kirby,  and  the  father  of  Mrs.  S. 
Maude  Sharpe  (General  Secretary  of  the  English  Section), 
of  Julius  Caesar,  and  of  T.  Subba  Rao,  the  Teshu  Lama 
being  at  that  time  his  daughter.2 

9.  The  new  propaganda  with  its  outrageous  statements 
and  limitless  claims  has  led  to  considerable  upheavals  within 
Theosophy.  The  persistent  preaching  of  the  new  doctrine 

1  April,  1911. 

2  For  some  account  of  the  book  see  Mrs.  Besant  and  the  Present  Crisis 
in  the  Theosophical  Society,  by  Eugene  L6vy. 


276     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

to  the  students  of  the  Hindu  College,  Benares,  and  the  forma 
tion  of  numerous  societies  and  classes  for  the  study  of  its 
literature  and  other  such  purposes,  enraged  the  mass  of 
solid  Hindus  connected  with  the  College.  They  protested 
seriously  for  some  time,  but  got  no  redress.  Finally,  they 
were  able  to  make  things  so  hot  for  Mrs.  Besant's  personal 
followers  on  the  teaching  staff,  that  they  resigned  in  a  body 
and  left.  Mrs.  Besant  has  thus  lost  nearly  all  her  influence 
in  the  citadel  of  Hinduism. 

There  were  also  many  members  of  the  Society  in  India 
who  resigned,  probably  as  many  as  500 ;  but  she  still  re 
tains  her  hold  over  the  great  bulk  of  the  Indian  membership. 
A  few  seceded  in  England  and  in  America.  On  account  of 
a  sharp  disagreement  between  Mrs.  Besant  and  Herr  Steiner, 
the  German  leader,  all  the  lodges  in  Germany,  consisting  of 
2400  members,  and  several  in  Switzerland,  were  driven  out 
of  the  movement.  Germany  has  thus  been  forced  to  form 
a  fresh  organization.  The  new  name  is  the  Anthroposophi- 
cal  Society. 

The  third  result  has  been  a  crop  of  lawsuits  in  Madras. 
The  chief  case  arose  from  the  fact  that  a  Madrasi  Brahman, 
named  G.  Narayana  Aiyer,  handed  over  his  two  sons  to 
Mrs.  Besant  to  be  educated.  The  elder  of  these  boys, 
J.  Krishnamurti,  is  called  Alcyone  in  Mr.  Leadbeater's 
occult  investigations ;  and  he  is  said  to  have  been  chosen  as 
the  vehicle  of  the  coming  Christ.  Mrs.  Besant  placed  the 
boys  under  Mr.  Leadbeater's  care  in  the  matter  of  their 
studies.  The  father  objected  on  the  ground  that  Mr. 
Leadbeater  is  an  immoral  man.1  Mrs.  Besant  consented  to 
keep  the  boys  apart  from  Mr.  Leadbeater,  but  put  them 
again  under  his  care,  and  finally  refused  to  separate  them 
from  him.  The  father  then  raised  an  action  against  her 
in  the  Madras  courts,  and  won  his  case.2  Mrs.  Besant  ap- 
1  See  p.  273,  above.  2  See  The  Alcyone  Case. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       277 

pealed,  but  lost  again.  She  then  appealed  to  the  Privy 
Council  in  England ;  and  the  original  case  has  been  upset 
on  a  technical  point.1  Mrs.  Besant  brought  lawsuits  for 
defamation  of  character  against  two  citizens  of  Madras, 
but  both  were  dismissed.  In  the  course  of  the  four  trials  in 
Madras  a  great  deal  of  very  unfavourable  evidence  was 
produced  against  Leadbeater  and  Mrs.  Besant.  The  follow 
ing  is  an  extract  from  the  Judgment  in  the  first  case  : 

Mr.  Leadbeater  admitted  in  his  evidence  that  he  has  held, 
and  even  now  holds,  opinions  which  I  need  only  describe  as 
certainly  immoral  and  such  as  to  unfit  him  to  be  the  tutor  of  the 
boys,  and,  taken  in  conjunction  with  his  professed  power  to 
detect  the  approach  of  impure  thoughts,  render  him  a  highly 
dangerous  associate  for  children.2 

In  one  case  the  judge  declared  that  Mrs.  Besant  had  de 
fended  Leadbeater's  immoral  teaching.  In  another  the 
judge  said  Mrs.  Besant  had  not  shewn  common  honesty 
in  her  dealings  with  the  father  of  the  boys. 

10.  The  Theosophic  cause  has  suffered  so  seriously  in 
India  through  the  new  propaganda  and  these  lawsuits  that 
Mrs.  Besant  has  been  making  frantic  efforts  during  the  last 
nine  months  to  achieve  a  new  position  by  means  of  new 
activities.  The  first  of  these  is  a  Theosophic  movement 
in  favour  of  social  reform.  This  is  a  very  noticeable  change ; 
for,  until  now,  the  Society  has  been  reactionary  on  all  social 
questions  with  the  exception  of  early  marriage,  and  Mrs. 
Besant  has  published  long,  elaborate  defences  of  many 
superstitious  observances  in  Hinduism  connected  with  caste 
and  the  family.  Hindus  are  being  enrolled  for  the  purpose 
of  advancing  social  reform;  and  each  stalwart  appends 
his  name  to  seven  pledges.3 

1  The  Times,  Weekly  Edition,  May  8,  1914. 

2  The  Alcyone  Case,  p.  260.  '  ISR.,  XXIV,  43- 


278     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

Another  proposal  has  been  to  form  a  Young  Men's  Indian 
Association,  confessedly  in  imitation  of  the  Young  Men's 
Christian  Association,  and  for  the  purpose  of  saving  young 
men  from  Christian  influence.  The  original  idea  was  to 
make  it  a  Hindu  organization  of  a  Theosophic  type,  but 
several  of  the  Madras  leaders  refused  to  have  anything  to 
do  with  an  organization  that  touched  religion ;  and,  in  con 
sequence,  the  proposal  is  now  a  purely  secular  one.  There 
have  been  great  difficulties  in  getting  the  project  launched. 
When  I  was  last  in  Madras,1  all  that  had  been  done  was  to 
arrange  for  the  opening  of  a  small  hostel,  containing  a  read 
ing  room,  but  without  a  Superintendent. 

ii.  We  give  next  a  very  brief  outline  of  the  teaching 
given  by  Theosophists.  Our  sketch  is  drawn  from  Mr.  C. 
W.  Leadbeater's  Textbook  of  Theosophy,  and  consists  largely 
of  quotations  from  it.  We  begin  with  a  couple  of  sentences, 
descriptive  of  '  the  Etheric  Record,'  which,  we  fancy,  are 
necessary  as  a  sort  of  preface  to  the  whole : 

Theosophy  has  much  to  tell  us  of  the  past  history  of  man  — 
of  how  in  the  course  of  evolution  he  has  come  to  be  what  he  now 
is.  This  also  is  a  matter  of  observation,  because  of  the  fact  that 
there  exists  an  indelible  record  of  all  that  has  taken  place  —  a 
sort  of  memory  of  Nature  —  by  examining  which  the  scenes  of 
earlier  evolution  may  be  made  to  pass  before  the  eyes  of  the 
investigator  as  though  they  were  happening  at  this  moment. 

We  can  now  plunge  into  the  major  principles  of  the  system : 

Of  the  Absolute,  the  Infinite,  the  All-embracing,  we  can  at 
our  present  stage  know  nothing,  except  that  It  is ;  we  can  say 
nothing  that  is  not  a  limitation,  and  therefore  inaccurate. 

In  It  are  innumerable  universes ;  in  each  universe  countless 
solar  systems.  Each  solar  system  is  the  expression  of  a  mighty 
Being,  whom  we  call  the  LOGOS,  the  Word  of  God,  the  Solar 
Deity.  He  is  to  it  all  that  men  mean  by  God. 

1  In  March,  1914. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       279 

Out  of  Himself  He  has  called  this  mighty  system  into  being. 
We  who  are  in  it  are  evolving  fragments  of  His  life,  Sparks  of  His 
divine  Fire ;  from  Him  we  all  have  come ;  into  Him  we  shall  all 
return. 

Next  below  this  Solar  Deity,  yet  also  in  some  mysterious 
manner  part  of  Him,  come  His  seven  Ministers,  sometimes  called 
the  Planetary  Spirits. 

Under  Them  in  turn  come  vast  hosts  or  orders  of  spiritual 
Beings,  whom  we  call  Angels  or  Devas. 

Here  in  our  world  there  is  a  great  Official  who  represents  the 
Solar  Deity,  and  is  in  absolute  control  of  all  the  evolution  that 
takes  place  upon  this  planet.  We  may  imagine  Him  as  the  true 
KING  of  this  world,  and  under  Him  are  ministers  in  charge  of 
different  departments.  One  of  these  departments  is  concerned 
with  the  evolution  of  the  different  races  of  humanity,  so  that  for 
each  great  race  there  is  a  Head  who  founds  it,  differentiates  it 
from  all  others,  and  watches  over  its  development.  Another 
department  is  that  of  religion  and  education,  and  it  is  from  this 
that  all  the  greatest  teachers  of  history  have  come  —  that  all 
religions  have  been  sent  forth.  The  great  Official  at  the  head 
of  this  department  either  comes  Himself  or  sends  one  of  His 
pupils  to  found  a  new  religion  when  He  decides  that  one  is 
needed. 

Therefore  all  religions,  at  the  time  of  their  first  presentation 
to  the  world,  have  contained  a  definite  statement  of  the  Truth, 
and  in  its  fundamentals  this  Truth  has  been  always  the  same. 

It  is  foolish  for  men  to  wrangle  over  the  question  of  the  superi 
ority  of  one  teacher  or  one  form  of  teaching  to  another,  for  the 
teacher  is  always  one  sent  by  the  Great  Brotherhood  of  Adepts, 
and  in  all  its  important  points,  in  its  ethical  and  moral  principles, 
the  teaching  has  always  been  the  same. 

In  the  earlier  stages  of  the  development  of  humanity,  the 
great  Officials  of  the  Hierarchy  are  provided  from  outside,  from 
other  and  more  highly  evolved  parts  of  the  system,  but  as  soon 
as  men  can  be  trained  to  the  necessary  level  of  power  and  wisdom, 
these  offices  are  held  by  them.  In  order  to  be  fit  to  hold  such 


280     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

an  office  a  man  must  raise  himself  to  a  very  high  level,  and  must 
become  what  is  called  an  Adept. 

A  large  number  of  men  have  attained  the  Adept  level  .  .  . 
but  always  some  of  them  remain  within  touch  of  our  earth  as 
members  of  this  Hierarchy  which  has  in  charge  the  adminis 
tration  of  the  affairs  of  our  world  and  of  the  spiritual  evolution 
of  our  humanity. 

This  august  body  is  often  called  the  Great  White  Brother 
hood. 

A  few  of  these  great  Adepts,  who  are  thus  working  for  the 
good  of  the  world,  are  willing  to  take  as  apprentices  those  who 
have  resolved  to  devote  themselves  utterly  to  the  service  of 
mankind ;  such  Adepts  are  called  Masters. 

One  of  these  apprentices  was  Helena  Petrovna  Blavatsky. 

To  attain  the  honour  of  being  accepted  as  an  apprentice  of 
one  of  the  Masters  of  the  Wisdom  is  the  object  set  before  himself 
by  every  earnest  Theosophical  student.  But  it  means  a  deter 
mined  effort.  There  have  always  been  men  who  were  willing 
to  make  the  necessary  effort,  and  therefore  there  have  always 
been  men  who  knew.  The  knowledge  is  so  transcendent  that 
when  a  man  grasps  it  fully  he  becomes  more  than  man,  and  he 
passes  beyond  our  ken. 

Mr.  Leadbeater  next  gives  a  chapter  describing  certain 
intricate  chemical  processes  whereby  a  solar  system  is  said 
to  be  formed  from  "  the  aether  of  space."  Our  own  globe  is 
a  fair  sample  of  all  the  planets ;  and  it  is  said  to  be  really 
seven  interpenetrating  worlds ;  the  physical  earth  and  six 
others  which  are  beyond  the  ken  of  our  ordinary  senses  but 
are  visible  to  the  eye  of  the  clairvoyant  or  occultist,  when 
far  enough  advanced.  These  six  suprasensual  worlds  do  not 
stand  apart  from  the  physical  earth,  but  interpenetrate  it  at 
every  point,  occupying  the  same  space  which  it  occupies 
but  also  stretching  far  beyond  it.  The  seven  worlds  are 
named  in  descending  order,  Divine,  Monadic,  Spiritual, 
Intuitional,  Mental,  Emotional  (or  Astral),  Physical. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD   RELIGIONS       281 

Each  of  these  worlds  has  its  inhabitants.     The  evolution  of 
life  is  described  in  another  chapter. 

Man,  according  to  Theosophy,  is  in  essence  a  Spark  of  the 
divine  Fire,  belonging  to  the  Monadic  world  mentioned 
above,  and  is  called  a  Monad.  For  the  purposes  of  human 
evolution  the  Monad  manifests  itself  in  lower  worlds.  It 
manifests  itself  in  three  aspects  in  the  Spiritual,  Intuitional 
and  higher  Mental  worlds.  This  is  the  Theosophic  soul,  a 
Monad,  a  trinity,  a  self.  This  Monad  is  immortal,  is  born 
and  dies  many  times,  but  is  in  no  way  affected  by  birth  or 
death.  Before  birth  he  draws  round  him  veils  from  the 
lower  mental  and  astral  worlds,  and  only  then  obtains  his 
physical  body.  During  life  man  in  his  bodies  makes  prog 
ress,  slow  or  rapid :  and  according  to  his  behaviour  is  his 
experience.  As  to  death  and  the  hereafter  we  read  : 

Death  is  the  laying  aside  of  the  physical  body :  but  it  makes 
no  more  difference  to  the  ego  than  does  the  laying  aside  of  an 
overcoat  to  the  physical  man.  Having  put  off  his  physical 
body,  the  ego  continues  to  live  in  his  astral  body  until  the  force 
has  become  exhausted  which  has  been  generated  by  such  emotions 
and  passions  as  he  has  allowed  himself  to  feel  during  earth-life. 
When  that  has  happened,  the  second  death  takes  place;  the 
astral  body  also  falls  away  from  him,  and  he  finds  himself  living 
in  the  mental  body  and  in  the  lower  mental  world.  In  that  con 
dition  he  remains  until  the  thought-forces  generated  during  his 
physical  and  astral  lives  have  worn  themselves  out;  then  he 
drops  the  third  vehicle  in  its  turn  and  remains  once  more  an  ego 
in  his  own  world,  inhabiting  his  causal  body. 

Man  makes  for  himself  his  own  purgatory  and  heaven,  and 
these  are  not  places,  but  states  of  consciousness.  Hell  does  not 
exist ;  it  is  only  a  figment  of  the  theological  imagination ;  but  a 
man  who  lives  foolishly  may  make  for  himself  a  very  unpleasant 
and  long-enduring  purgatory.  Neither  purgatory  nor  heaven 
can  ever  be  eternal,  for  a  finite  cause  cannot  produce  an  infinite 
result. 


282     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

After  life  for  a  shorter  or  longer  time  in  the  higher  worlds 
the  man  is  reborn,  in  order  to  make  more  progress.  Ac 
cording  to  Theosophy,  a  man  can  never  be  born  an  animal. 
Nor  is  any  final  failure  possible : 

This  is  a  school  in  which  no  pupil  ever  fails;  every  one  must 
go  on  to  the  end. 

There  is  one  further  point  which  it  is  necessary  to  express 
here.  As  all  religions  are  held  to  be  in  reality  the  same, 
Theosophy  is  said  to  place  us  at  the  standpoint  where  this 
unity  becomes  visible ;  and  its  function,  we  are  told,  is  to 
strengthen  every  religion  and  to  antagonize  none. 

12.  But  hitherto  we  have  said  nothing  about  that  which  is 
the  core  of  the  whole,  namely  £ccultisrn,.  We  have  seen 
that  Madame  Blavatsky  started  a  secret  society  within  the 
Society  for  the  practical  study  of  occultism  in  iSSS.1  Since 
then  this  Esoteric  School  has  contained  all  the  most  con 
vinced  Theosophists.  It  seems  clear,  that  under  Mrs. 
Besant  and  Mr.  Leadbeater,  the  organization  has  been 
greatly  developed  and  the  work  of  the  school  transformed. 
At  present  there  is  within  the  school  an  inner  group  called 
the  Esoteric  Section,  and  within  that  again  a  smaller  group 
who  have  given  special  pledges  to  Mrs.  Besant.2  The  chief 
investigations  are  carried  on  at  headquarters  in  Madras 
by  Mr.  Leadbeater  and  Mrs.  Besant:  but  the  members  of 
the  school  are  found  all  over  the  world ;  and  in  most  of  the 
lodges  classes  are  held  in  which  young  members  receive  their 
earliest  lessons. 

As  members  are  bound  by  a  pledge  not  to  divulge  what 
goes  on  in  the  school,  it  is  extremely  difficult  for  an  outsider 
to  realize  what  the  aims,  the  methods  and  the  results  of 
Theosophic  Occultism  are.  Even  those  who  have  broken 

1  P.  261,  above.  2  See  her  portrait,  Plate  IX,  facing  p.  195. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       283 

absolutely  with  Theosophy  feel  they  are  still  bound  by  the 
old  pledges  and  will  not  speak  out.  Several  things,  however, 
may  be  said : 

A.  There  is  a  regular  hierarchy  of  gurus  (i.e.  teachers). 
They  teach  forms  of  meditation  which  are  meant  to  still 
the  mind  and  to  make  it  receptive,  receptive  not  only  to 
teaching  but  to  impressions  on  the  sub-conscious  plane. 
There  are  secret  manuals  which  are  put  into  the  hands  of 
junior  members,  and  they  are  taught  to  practise  this  medita 
tive  discipline  privately.     The  gurus  use    telepathic   im 
pressions  and  hypnotic  suggestions  to  bring  the  minds  of 
their   disciples   under   their   control.     Everything   that  is 
taught  must  be  accepted  on  the  authority  of  the  teacher : 
nothing  can  be  tested.     When  these  processes  have  been 
continued  for  some  time,  the  mind  becomes  almost  paralyzed, 
and  is  ready  to  receive  and  believe  anything  that  comes 
through  the  teacher,  and  to  disbelieve  everything  adverse. 

The  pupil  as  he  advances  meets  the  leaders  in  the  esoteric 
section  of  his  lodge. 

B.  The  word  which  Leadbeater  uses  to  describe  his  methods 
of  research  is  Clairvoyance ;   but  from  many  hints  in  the 
literature,   and  from   words    which   have    dropped    from 
Theosophists  in  conversation  I  am  convinced  that  hypnotic 
methods  are  much  used. 

C.  We  are  frankly  told  that  clairvoyant  powers  have  no 
connection  with  intelligence,  spirituality  or  purity  of  char 
acter  : 

A  constantly  growing  minority,  however,  of  fairly  intelligent 
people  believe  clairvoyance  to  be  a  fact,  and  regard  it  as  a  per 
fectly  natural  power,  which  will  become  universal  in  the  course  of 
evolution.  They  do  not  regard  it  as  a  miraculous  gift,  nor  as  an 
outgrowth  from  high  spirituality,  lofty  intelligence,  or  purity  of 
character.  .  .  .  They  know  that  it  is  a  power  latent  in  all 
men,  and  that  it  can  be  developed  by  anyone  who  is  able  and 


284     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

willing  to  pay  the  price  demanded  for  its  forcing,  ahead  of  the 
general  evolution.1 

D.  Results.  In  the  process  of  working  through  masses  of 
Theosophic  literature  and  interviewing  scores  of  individuals 
who  have  been  connected  with  Theosophy  I  have  become 
convinced  that  the  following  results  arise  from  occultism : 

i.  On  pupils  the  result  is  their  complete  subjugation  to 
their  gurus 2  and  through  their  gurus  to  the  leaders  of  the 
Theosophical  Society.  Scarcely  anything  is  read  except 
Theosophic  literature;  and  the  mind  becomes  incapable 
of  believing  that  the  guru  or  the  leader  can  be  wrong.  We 
may  realize  how  eager  the  leaders  are  to  obtain  this  result 
from  the  fact  that  the  members  of  the  innermost  group 
of  all  have  each  taken  a  personal  pledge  to  Mrs.  Besant, 
a  pledge  of  "absolute  obedience  without  cavil  or  delay." 
Apart  from  this  result  on  the  mind,  it  would  be  hard  to  un 
derstand  how,  in  spite  of  the  frequent  exposures  of  the 
leaders,  the  mass  of  Theosophists  continue  their  adhesion 
without  a  break. 

ii.  It  is  well  known  that  the  continued  practice  of  spirit 
ualism  drives  all  mediums  to  fraud.  However  honest  they 
may  be,  however  real  the  bulk  of  the  phenomena  appearing 
through  them  may  be,  a  moment  comes  when  reality  fails 
them,  and  the  temptation  to  pretend  and  to  deceive  is  over 
whelming.  The  same  danger  haunts  the  Theosophic  leaders. 
The  pursuit  of  occultism  necessarily  involves  them  in  a  con 
stant  straining  after  results  and  the  consequent  acceptance 
of  illusions.  They  live  in  a  world  half -true,  half-false. 

1  Man:  Whence,  How,  and  Whither,  quoted  in  Levy,  no. 

2  Madame  Blavatsky  used  the  word  "  psychologize  "  for  this  process.     In 
a  letter  written   from  America  to  a  Hindu  in  Bombay,  she  called  Olcott 
"a  psychologized  baby"  (Proceedings,  IX,  311);  and  writing  of  Bavaji  to 
M.  Solovyoff  in  1886,  she  says,  "He  is  an  obedient  and  clever  boy  !    He  is  an 
obedient  weapon  in  my  hands  !     '  Je  1'ai  psychologist. ' "     (MPL,  184.) 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       285 

Necessarily,  the  mind  ceases  to  distinguish  sharply  between 
truth  and  falsehood.  A  clear  case  from  Mrs.  Besant's  own 
life  may  be  cited  here.  One  evening  in  a  lecture  in  London 
she  declared,  to  the  amazement  of  the  whole  audience,  that 
Madame  Blavatsky  had  been  again  incarnated.  After  the 
lecture  her  own  friends  asked  her  how  she  had  come  to  say 
such  a  thing.  She  replied,  "  O,  I  just  felt  like  it."  She  had 
not  a  particle  of  evidence.  Probably  she  did  not  realize 
that  she  was  romancing  and  misleading  her  audience. 
Another  instance  is  her  pamphlet  in  defence  of  Madame 
Blavatsky.1  Similarly,  the  Theosophists  felt  sure  they 
had  an  irrefragable  case  until  Hodgson  cross-examined 
them :  they  had  not  realized  in  the  slightest  their  own  ex 
treme  inaccuracy.  Necessarily,  the  blurring  of  the  dis 
tinction  between  truth  and  falsehood  weakens  the  con 
science  in  other  directions  also.  This  sheds  a  little  more 
light  on  the  Theosophic  mind.  Madame  Blavatsky's 
frauds,  Olcott's  inaccuracy  and  lies,2  Judge's  shrine-burn 
ing3  and  forgeries,4  Sinnett's  editorial  achievements,5  Lead- 
beater's  immoralities,6  and  Mrs.  Besant's  behaviour  in  the 
Judge  case,7  all  are  made  a  little  more  intelligible.  There 
was  loose  morality  in  some  of  these  cases  to  begin  with ; 
but  occultism  and  its  attendant  phenomena  did  the  rest. 

13.  The  enslaving  of  the  minds  of  the  members,  however, 
will  not  stand  as  a  full  explanation  of  the  survival  of  the 
system.  If  in  spite  of  exposures  which  would  destroy  al 
most  any  society,  members  still  remain  true  to  Theosophy, 
it  is  clear  that  it  must  meet  certain  needs  of  our  day  which 
otherwise  do  not  find  satisfaction.  It  will  therefore  be 
worth  while  to  attempt  to  discover  what  its  chief  attractions 
are. 

1  Appendix,  p.  447.    2  Proceedings,  IX,  237-239.    3  Pp.  241-2,  above. 
4  See  above,  pp.  268-9.  6  Pp-  232,  257,  above,  and  MPI.,  157. 

6  P.  273,  above.  7  Pp.  268-70,  above. 


286     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

A.  One  of  the  most  outstanding  features  of  the  nine 
teenth  century  was  the  rise  of  accurate  knowledge  of  the  re 
ligions  of  the  world.  The  religions  of  antiquity,  especially 
of  Egypt,  Babylonia,  Assyria,  Persia,  India  and  China, 
have  been  explored  by  a  great  company  of  scholarly 
Orientalists.  The  faiths  of  the  ruder  peoples  have  been 
described  by  an  army  of  missionaries,  travellers,  traders 
and  anthropologists.  The  whole  has  been  built  up  into  a 
new  and  most  imposing  science,  the  science  of  religions. 
Further,  during  the  last  half-century  our  knowledge  of  the 
human  mind,  and  especially  of  its  more  abnormal  activities, 
has  grown  very  rapidly.  In  consequence,  psychological 
interests  and  methods  of  study  hold  a  great  place  in 
modern  thought. 

The  thinking  men  of  our  time  are  vividly  conscious  of 
these  masses  of  fresh  knowledge.  Even  if  they  do  not  care 
to  study  psychology  and  the  religions  in  detail,  they  want 
to  know  what  practical  attitude  a  reasonable  man  ought 
to  take  towards  the  religions,  and  also  towards  telepathy, 
hypnotism,  clairvoyance  and  such  like.  The  Church  of 
Christ  thus  far  has  failed  to  give  clear  expression  to  her 
mind  on  these  matters.  Yet,  it  is  high  time  she  should 
do  so,  for  guidance  is  wanted ;  and  if  the  Church  is  not 
able  to  suggest  a  reasonable  attitude,  thinking  men  will 
follow  the  guidance  of  other  schools  of  thought. 

Now  the  Theosophical  Society  is  first  of  all  sympathetic 
to  all  religions.  It  has  assumed  a  generous  attitude,  the 
attitude  of  appreciation  and  friendliness.  Nor  is  that  all. 
The  society  has  its  text-books  and  classes,  its  teachers  and 
lecturers,  and  invites  men  and  women  to  come  and  study,  to 
come  and  enjoy  the  rich  feast  which  Oriental  religions  offer 
to  the  student.  The  Christian  doctrine  of  the  brotherhood  of 
men  is  also  taught :  Theosophists  are  bid  receive  men  of  all 
religions  as  brothers.  The  bulk  of  the  work  they  have  done 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       287 

in  the  exposition  of  religions  is  unscientific  and  seriously 
misleading.  They  have  usually  filled  men's  heads  with 
froth  instead  of  knowledge.  Yet  the  fact  remains  that  they 
have  attempted  to  do  in  a  wrong  way  the  work  the  Church 
of  Christ  ought  to  have  done  in  the  right  way.  This  is 
unquestionably  the  first  attraction  which  Theosophy 
presents  to  the  outsider ;  and  it  is  the  attraction  which  has 
drawn  to  it  the  great  majority  of  the  more  intellectual  men 
who  at  one  time  or  another  have  belonged  to  it. 

B.  The  second  attraction  is  the  promise  of  occult  know 
ledge  and  secret  power.     A  very  small  number  of  really  nota 
ble  men,  e.g.  Sir  William  Crookes  and  M.  V.  S.  Solovyoff, 
the  Russian  man  of  letters,  were  attracted  to  Madame  Blavat- 
sky  by  this  side  of  her  work,  although  they  soon  discovered 
the  hollo wness  of  her  pretences.1    But  it  is  this  aspect  of 
the  system  also  which  draws  the  mass  of  the  devoted  The- 
osophists  of  the  West.     The  sheer  fascination  of  secrecy 
lays  hold  of  them,  the  hope  of  exclusive  knowledge,  the 
promise  of  a  path  to  occult  development.     Then,  once  these 
people  enter  the  Esoteric  School,  the  system  holds  them 
like  a  vice.     One  friend  who  has  escaped  from  the  toils 
describes   most   vividly   the   fierce   mental   and   spiritual 
struggle  which  it  cost  to  regain  freedom. 

C.  In  India  and  Ceylon  it  is  perfectly  clear  that  the 
great  mass  of  members  have  been  drawn  by  neither  of  these 
two  attractions  but  simply  and  solely  by  the  Theosophic 
defence  of  Hinduism  and  Buddhism.     Thousands  of  Orien 
tals,  whose  minds  had  been  filled  with  shivering  doubts 
about  their  religion  by  the  Western  education  they  had  re 
ceived,  have  fled  to  Theosophy  for  refuge  with  great  joy  and 
relief.     The  defence  goes  a  very  long  way.     The  depths  to 
which  Mrs.  Besant  habitually  descends  in  defending  Hin 
duism  will  hardly  be  believed.     There  is  scarcely  an  ex- 

1 MPL,  7. 


288     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

ploded  doctrine,  scarcely  a  superstitious  observance,  which 
she  has  not  defended  with  the  silliest  and  most  shameful 
arguments.  No  one  who  has  not  scanned  the  files  of  The 
Central  Hindu  College  Magazine  or  the  reports  of  Mrs. 
Besant's  lectures  in  India  has  any  idea  of  the  indescribable 
rubbish  which  Theosophy  has  presented  to  its  Hindu 
members.  But  there  is  another  side  to  all  this.  It  is  a 
simple  matter  of  fact  that  for  several  decades  Hindu  and 
Buddhist  thought  and  civilization  were  most  unjustly  de 
preciated  and  unmercifully  condemned  by  missionaries, 
by  Europeans  in  general  and  even  by  some  Hindus.  Only 
a  few  Orientalists  escape  this  censure.  There  was  thus 
really  good  reason  for  a  crusade  in  defence  of  these  systems. 

14.  To  estimate  the  value  of  the  work  done  by  Theosophy 
is  rather  a  difficult  task.  It  has  certainly  popularized, 
in  Europe  and  America,  a  number  of  the  best  Oriental 
books,  such  as  the  Upanishads  and  the  Gitd,  and  has  taught 
Theosophists  to  sympathize  with  Orientals  and  to  think  of 
them  as  brothers ;  while  in  India  it  has  helped  to  restore 
to  the  Hindu  and  the  Buddhist  that  self-respect  which 
tended  to  evaporate  amid  the  almost  universal  depreciation 
of  Oriental  thought,  life  and  art. 

But  there  is  a  vast  amount  to  be  placed  on  the  other 
side  of  the  account.  Theosophy  under  Madame  Blavatsky 
condemned  and  ridiculed  Orientalists,  and  yet  took  from 
them,  almost  without  acknowledgment,  practically  all  the 
trustworthy  knowledge  of  the  East  it  possessed.  Further 
in  spite  of  all  its  pretences  and  all  its  noise,  Theosophy 
has  made  no  contribution  whatever  to  our  knowledge  of 
Oriental  religions.  It  has  not  discovered  a  single  fresh 
historical  fact,  nor  brought  a  fresh  text  to  the  notice  of 
scholars,  nor  produced  a  notable  translation  or  commen 
tary.  Thousands  of  copies  of  Mrs.  Besant's  translation  of 
the  Gita  have  been  sold ;  but  no  scholar  would  dream  of 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       289 

referring  to  it  for  the  translation  of  a  difficult  line.  Apart 
from  the  writings  of  Mr.  G.  R.  S.  Mead  and  one  or  two 
others,  we  must  pronounce  the  whole  vast  literature  of  the 
Theosophical  Societies  worthless  from  the  point  of  view  of 
scientific  knowledge.  Where  is  there  a  single  scholar, 
historian  or  philosopher  to  be  found  amongst  its  members  ? 
One  and  all  are  repelled  by  the  charlatanism  of  the  litera 
ture.  There  is.  last  of  all,  the  gross  disservice  it  renders 
by  filling  the  heads  of  its  ordinary  members  with  the 
cosmological  and  historical  rubbish  which  is  dumped  in 
such  heaps  by  the  high-priests  of  occultism  at  head 
quarters,  and  with  the  impudently  worthless  trash 
published  in  defence  of  superstitions  which  thoughtful 
Hindus  would  do  anything  to  get  rid  of. 

15.  Mrs.  Besant  constantly  proclaims  both  in  India  and 
in  England  that  a  man  can  become  a  Theosophist  and  yet 
remain  a  true  Christian;  nay,  she  goes  further  and  says 
that  Theosophy  will  make  a  man  a  better  Christian.  Is 
this  contention  justifiable?  The  facts  contained  in  the 
following  paragraphs  will  enable  readers  to  judge : 

(1)  Instead  of  the  Heavenly  Father  of  Jesus  Christ,  with 
whom  every  man  may  come  into  closest  personal  relationships 
in  worship,  prayer  and  communion,  Theosophy  offers  us,  as  the 
Supreme,  an  unknowable  IT.1 

(2)  Theosophy   detaches   religion   from   God.     The   ancient 
wisdom  which  it  teaches  is  not  a  revelation  from  the  Unknow 
able,  but  proceeds  from  the  human  Masters  who  are  in  charge 
of  the  department  of  religion  in  our  world.2 

(3)  Necessarily  there  is  no  prayer  in  Theosophy,  since  the 
Supreme  is  unknowable. 

(4)  There  is  no  worship  of  God  in  Theosophy.     It  is  the 
Masters,  and  such  people  as   Alcyone,    Mrs.  Besant  and  Mr. 
Leadbeater  who  receive  adoration. 

1  Above,  p.  278.  2  Above,  p.  279. 

u 


290     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS   IN  INDIA 

(5)  The  Gospels  are  condemned  as  utterly  unhistorical.1 

(6)  Jesus  and  Christ  are  declared  to  be  distinct  persons.2 

(7)  Neither  Jesus  nor  Christ  is  the  Son  of  God:    they  are 
said  to  be  mere  men.3 

(8)  The  whole  story  of  Jesus  as  given  in  the  Gospels,  and 
also  by  Tacitus,  is  made  unhistorical;    for  He  was  not  born 
under  Augustus,  in  the  days  of  Herod  the  King,  but  a  century 
earlier,  in  B.C.  105. 4    He  is  said  to  be  one  of  the  Masters  on 
earth  now  and  to  spend  most  of  his  time  in  the  Lebanon. 

(9)  It  was  another  quite  obscure  fanatical  preacher  who  was 
condemned  to  death  and  executed  in  Jerusalem  about  30  A.D.5 

(10)  According  to  Theosophic  teaching,  Jesus  was  not  cruci 
fied  for  the  sins  of  men.     No  such  death  could  be  an  atonement 
for  the  sins  of  others.     It  could  only  be  punishment  for  His  own 
sins  in  a  former  life ;  for  the  sway  of  the  doctrine  of  Karma  knows 
no  exception. 

(n)  The  Second  Coming  of  Christ  which  Mrs.  Besant  refers 
to  is  not  the  Second  Coming  of  the  crucified  Jesus,  the  Son  of 
God,  but  the  return  of  a  man  named  Christ,  who,  according  to 
Mrs.  Besant's  story,  for  a  time  used  as  His  vehicle  the  body  of  a 
man  named  Jesus,  who  was  born  105  B.C. 

(12)  Christianity  teaches  that,  "It  is  appointed  unto  men 
once  to  die;  and  after  death  cometh  judgment ";  while  The- 
osophy  teaches  that  every  human  being  is  born  and  dies  many 
times. 

This  catalogue  might  be  made  much  longer ;  but  we 
believe  it  is  quite  long  enough.  We  ask  our  readers  to  con 
sider  seriously  whether  Mrs.  Besant  acts  rightly,  when  she 
stands  up  before  a  great  audience  of  Christian  people  in 
England,  who  know  nothing  of  these  Theosophic  doctrines 
which  she  has  in  her  mind,  and  tells  them  that  to  become 
Theosophists  will  not  make  them  disloyal  Christians. 

1  Leadbeater,  The  Christian  Creed,  15.     2  /&.,  13,  29.     3  Ib.,  15,  27,  29. 
4  Above,  p.  272.  6  Leadbeater,  The  Inner  Life,  I,  183. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       291 

Every  Christian  teacher  and  minister  ought  to  inform  him 
self  of  the  true  nature  of  this  poisonous  anti-Christian 
system;  for  attempts  are  being  made  in  many  places  to 
introduce  it  into  the  Church. 

For  the  relation  between  Theosophy  and  the  Radha 
Soami  system,  see  above,  p.  172,  and  for  its  influence  on 
the  Parsees,  p.  344,  below. 

LITERATURE.  —  JUDGE  :  Isis  Very  Much  Unveiled,  by  Edmund 
Garrett,  London,  Westminster  Gazette  Office,  1894,  is.  THE 
LEADBEATER  CASE:  See  The  Alcyone  Case  (below).  TEACHING: 
Esoteric  Christianity,  by  Annie  Besant,  London,  T.  P.  S.,  1901, 
55.  net.  Did  Jesus  Live  100  B.C.?  by  G.  R.  S.  Mead,  London, 
T.  P.  S.,  1903,  gs.  net.  The  Christian  Creed,  by  C.  W.  Leadbeater, 
London,  T.  P.  S.,  1904,  3.9.  6d.  net.  A  Textbook  of  Theosophy,  by 
C.  W.  Leadbeater,  Madras,  Theosophist  Office,  1912,  is,  6d.  net. 
Man;  Whence,  How,  and  Whither,  by  Annie  Besant  and  C.  W.  Lead 
beater,  Madras,  T.  P.  H.,  1913.  ALCYONE:  Mrs.  Besant  and  the 
Alcyone  Case,  by  Veritas,  Madras,  Goodwin  and  Co.,  1913,  35. 
(A  detailed  account  of  the  first  trial  in  Madras.)  Mrs.  Besant  and 
the  Present  Crisis  in  the  Theosophical  Society,  by  Eugene  Levy,  Lon 
don,  Heywood  Smith,  1913,  is.  net. 

4.  SECTARIAN  MOVEMENTS  IN  HINDUISM 

The  rise  of  the  modern  spirit  and  the  example  set  by  the 
great  movements  we  have  already  discussed  had  the  effect 
of  stirring  each  of  the  chief  Hindu  sects  to  self-defence  and 
to  various  efforts  for  the  strengthening  of  the  community. 

A.  TheMadhvas 

It  was  the  Madhvas  of  South  India  who  first  bestirred 
themselves  to  mutual  help  and  organization.  They  are  a 
Vishnuite  sect,  and  are  followers  of  Madhva,  a  philosophic 
thinker,  who  formed  his  system  and  created  his  sect,  in  the 
Canarese  country  in  Western  India,  in  the  thirteenth  cen 
tury.  The  sect  is  strongest  in  the  part  of  the  country  where 


292     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

it  arose,  but  it  is  found  scattered  throughout  the  South ; 
and  the  Chaitanya  sect  of  Bengal  and  Brindaban  sprang 
from  its  influence.  Like  all  the  other  theistic  sects,  they 
are  Vedantists,  their  form  of  the  Vedanta  being  dualistic. 
Krishna  is  their  favourite  incarnation.  A  considerable 
number  of  cultured  and  well-to-do  men  are  Madhvas. 

Thirty-seven  years  ago,  a  member  of  the  sect,  Mr.  Kanchi 
Sabba  Raoji,  who  had  had  a  good  English  education,  and 
was  a  Deputy-Collector  of  the  First  Grade  under  the 
Madras  Government,  conceived  the  idea  of  forming  a 
society  to  unite  the  Madhvas,  to  stimulate  the  systematic 
study  of  Madhva  literature,  and  to  look  after  the  Madhva 
temples.  In  1877  he  succeeded  in  forming  the  Madhva 
Siddhantonnahini  Sabhd,  or  Association  for  the  Strengthen 
ing  of  the  Madhva  System.  An  annual  Conference  is 
held,  at  which  speeches  are  delivered,  examinations  in  the 
sacred  books  conducted,  and  prizes  and  honours  conferred. 
A  well-managed  Bank,  with  a  capital  of  three  lacs  of  rupees, 
is  connected  with  the  society,  and  is  able  to  give  an  annual 
grant  in  aid  of  its  work.  The  Maharajas  of  Travancore 
and  Mysore,  and  a  large  number  of  wealthy  titled  gentle 
men,  are  patrons  and  life-members  of  the  society ;  and  all 
the  leading  educated  Madhvas  of  the  South  are  members. 
The  Conference  meets  at  Chirtanur,  near  Tirupati,  in  the 
Madras  Presidency. 

From  the  Thirty-Fourth  Annual  Report 1  it  appears  that 
the  founder  of  the  society  did  all  he  could  to  stimulate  the 
pandits  of  the  sect  to  study  the  literature.  His  hope  was 
that,  if  the  pandits  could  be  made  educated  men,  it  would 
be  possible  to  bring  the  mass  of  the  people  to  an  intelligent 
knowledge  of  their  religion,  and  to  raise  the  whole  standard 
of  thought  and  life  throughout  the  sect.  The  Report  says 
that  most  of  the  men  whom  the  founder  dealt  with  have 
1  Published  by  Thompson  &  Co.,  Madras,  1912. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       293 

passed  away,  and  that  worthy  successors  are  hard  to  find. 
All  capable  young  Madhvas  seek  an  English  education,  and 
are  altogether  unwilling  to  become  pandits. 

In  recent  years,  the  sect  has  produced  a  number  of  books 
to  help  its  people  in  the  circumstances  of  to-day.  Most 
of  these  are  in  the  vernaculars,  but  a  few  are  in  English. 
S.  Subba  Rao  has  translated  Madhva's  Commentary  on  the 
Veddnta-sutras,1  and  has  done  the  work  well ;  but  the  most 
noteworthy  book  is  the  Life  and  Teachings  of  Sri  Madhva- 
charyar,  by  C.  M.  Padmanabha  Char,  of  Coimbatore.2 

B.  The  Chaitanyas 

i.  Early  in  the  six^eenth^century,  a  young  Bengali  san- 
nyasi,  named  Krishna  Chaitanya,  belonging  to  Nuddea 
(then,  as  now,  celebrated  as  a  seat  of  Sanskrit  learning), 
founded  a  new  sect  which  worships  Kji^na^ajid^RadM . 
The  theology  he  taught  was  the  system  of  Madhva,  but  in 
other  matters  he  was  a  follower  of  the  earlier  Vishnuites 
of  Bengal.  He  was  a  man  of  extremely  emotional  tempera 
ment,  and  won  his  success  by  a  tempest  of  devotion.  He 
would  repeat  the  sweet  name  of  his  Lord  till  he  lost  all  self- 
consciousness,  and  imagined  himself  Krishna  or  his  be 
loved  Radha.  He  and  his  followers  would  sit  together  for 
hours,  sinjgnj£^yjrm.s  in  praise  of  Krishna  with  instrumental 
accompaniment,  until  they  lost  themselves  in  ecstasy  and 
love.  This  was  called  sanklrtana^  united  praise.  Then 
they  would  sally  out,  drums  beating  and  flags  flying,  and 
would  march  through  the  streets,  dancing  and  singing  to 
Krishna  with  such  contagious  joy  and  holy  rapture,  that 
the  whole  town  would  be  swept  along  on  the  tide  of 
devotion.  This  was  called  nagarkirtana,  town-praise. 
The  composition  of  popular  hymns  was  thus  as  character- 

1  Madras,  Natesan,  Rs.  3,  as.  8.        2  To  be  had  of  the  author.     Rs.  3. 


294     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

istic  of  Chaitanya's  followers  as  it  is  of  the  Salvation  Army. 
In  consequence  there  arose  from  his  movement  a  new  rich 
I  literature  of  religious  song  in  the  vernacular.1  These  poems 
and  hymns  did  much  to  mould  the  mind  of  Rabindra  Nath 
Tagore.2  During  Chaitanya's  lifetime,  the  movement  was 
wholesome  and  uplifting,  but  it  soon  degenerated  to  care 
lessness  and  uncleanness.  The  pure  flame  was  kept 
burning  in  a  few  families ;  but  the  fall  had  been  so  serious 
that  during  the  first  half  of  the  nineteenth  century,  the 
sect  was  very  little  thought  of  in  Bengal. 

2.  We  have  already  seen  that  Keshab  Chandra  Sen  be 
longed  to  one  of  the  good  old  Vaishnava  families,  that  one 
of  his  earliest  associates  in  his  religious  work  was  Bijay 
Krishna  Gosvarm,  a  lineal  descendant  of  one  of  the  per 
sonal  companions  of  Chaitanya,  and  that  they  successfully 
introduced  into  the  Brahma  Samaj  the  enthusiastic  de 
votional  methods  which  we  have  just  described.3 

,     Both  these  forms  of  praise  have  also  been  adopted  by 
<the  Christian  Church  in  Bengal.     Sankirtana  may  be  wit 
nessed  in  any  gathering;    and,  when  the  annual  united 
Conference  is  held  in  Calcutta  in  October,  a  nagarklrtana 
procession  passes  through  the  northern  parts  of  the  city. 

3.  But  the  Nee-Krishna  movement  of  Bengal  is  above  all 
things   a  literary  movement.     When  Bijay   Krishna  Go- 
svami  finally  left  the  Brahma  Samaj  in  1886,  he  and  some 
friends  sought  to  create  a  modernized  Vaishnavism,  a  mys 
tic  Hinduism  meant  to  be  a  revival  of  the  Chaitanya  spirit ; 
and  their  preaching  was  not  without  result ;  but  no  organ 
ization  resulted  from  their  labours.     The  literary  revival, 
on  the  other  hand,  has  been  very  successful.     It  was  Chris 
tianity  and  Christian  criticism  that  led  to  the  movement. 
The  steady  toil  of  the  Mission  Colleges  of  Calcutta  had 

1  Sen's  History  of  Bengali  Language  and  Literature,  chap.  V. 

2  See  p.  385,  below.  3  See  pp.  41  and  47,  above. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       295 

produced  among  educated  Bengalis  a  distinct  liking  for  the 
Gospels  and  a  craving  for  a  perfect  character  such  as  Christ's 
for  daily  contemplation  and  imitation.  The  official  Libra 
rian  of  the  Bengal  Government  wrote  in  1899 : 

There  is  no  denying  the  fact  that  all  this  revolution  in  the 
religious  belief  of  the  educated  Hindu  has  been  brought  about  as 
much  by  the  dissemination  of  Christian  thought  by  Missionaries 
as  by  the  study  of  Hindu  scriptures ;  for  Christian  influence  is 
plainly  detectable  in  many  of  the  Hindu  publications  of  the  year. 

On  the  other  hand,  Orientalists  and  missionaries  had  openly 
declared  that  the  incarnation-stories  of  Rama  and  Krishna 
were  myths,  and  that  the  Gita  did  not  come  from  Krishna. 
The  aim  of  the  whole  movement  is  to  destroy  this  criticism, 
and  to  persuade  the  Bengali  to  put  Krishna  in  the  place  of 
Christ  and  the  Gita  in  the  place  of  the  Gospels. 

The  new  literature  falls  into  three  groups,  dealing  re 
spectively  with  (a)  the  historicity  of  the  traditional  life 
of  Krishna,  (b)  his  life  and  character,  regarded  as  an  ex 
ample  for  imitation,  (c)  the  Gitd.  Of  all  the  books  of  the 
Neo-Krishna  literature  Krishnactyaritra,  a  Bengali  prose 
work  by  the  great  novelist  Bankim  Chandra  Chatterji, 
has  been  by  far  the  most  influential.  The  main  purpose 
of  the  work  is  to  prove  the  historicity  of  the  man-God 
Krishna ;  and,  though  its  reasoning  is  but  a  house  of  cards, 
it  has  been  used  as  the  critical  arsenal  of  the  whole  move 
ment.  Many  books  have  also  been  written  in  English  on 
the  life  and  character  of  Krishna,  notably  Lord  Gaurdhga 
by  Sishir  Kumar  Ghose.  A  daily  text-book,  called  The 
Imitation  of  Sree  Krishna,  acknowledges  by  its  title  and  its 
form  the  Christian  influence  which  inspired  it.  Of  texts 
and  translations  of  the  Gitd  there  is  an  endless  catalogue ; 
and  there  have  been  several  books  written  to  prove  that  the 
Gitd  lays  the  foundations  of  a  universal  religion. 


296    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

But  there  is  a  wider  interest  connected  with  this  litera 
ture.  The  Gitd  has  won  its  way  to  recognition  throughout 
the  world,  and  is  widely  read  in  Europe  and  America.  It 
was  one  of  the  first  Sanskrit  books  introduced  to  Europe ; 
for  it  was  translated  into  English  in  1785  by  Charles  Wil- 
kins.  Since  then  it  has  received  a  great  deal  of  attention 
from  Western  Scholars.  Edwin  Arnold's  translation,  The 
Song  Celestial,  did  much  to  make  it  known ;  and  the  Theo- 
sophical  Society  has  introduced  it  to  thousands. 

A  Bengali,  named  Surendranath  Mukerji,  a  nephew  of 
Mr.  Justice  Anukul  Chandra  Mukerji  of  Calcutta,  had 
rather  a  romantic  history  in  America.  He  was  a  follower 
of  Chaitanya,  and  became  a  sannyasi,  taking  the  name 
Premananda  Bharatl.  He  was  usually  called  Baba 
Bharatl.  He  went  to  New  York  in  1902,  and  lectured  oh 
Krishna  with  great  success  not  only  in  New  York,  but  in 
Boston,  Los  Angeles  (where  he  built  a  Hindu  temple),  and 
elsewhere.  In  1907  he  returned  to  India  with  a  few 
American  disciples,  and  opened  a  Mission  in  Calcutta. 
But  funds  failed,  and  he  returned  to  America.  He 
published  two  books,  one  on  Krishna  and  one  on  Light 
on  Life.  He  died  in  Calcutta  in  January,  1914. 

The  Vaishnavas  of  Orissa  and  the  Northern  Telugu 
country  held  a  Convention  at  least  once.  It  took  place 
at  Berhampore,  Ganjam,  in  December,  1910.  The  Chair 
man  was  Baba  Bharatl.  Religious  education  in  schools 
and  the  translation  of  Vaishnava  literature  into  the  vernac 
ular  seem  to  have  been  the  chief  matters  under  discus 
sion. 

LITERATURE.  —  Chaitanya's  Pilgrimages  and  Teachings,  trans 
lated  into  English  by  Jadunath  Sarkar,  London,  Luzac,  1913,  3$. 
net.  (A  translation  of  the  central  portion  of  the  best  of  the  early 
Bengali  biographies  of  Chaitanya.)  Gita  and  Gospel,  by  J.  N.  Far- 
quhar,  Madras,  C.  L.  S.,  6  as.  (The  Appendix  gives  an  account  of 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       297 

the  Neo-Krishna  Movement  in  Bengal  and  a  list  of  the  chief  books 
down  to  1903.)  Krishnacharitra  by  Bankim  Chandra  Chatterji, 
Calcutta,  1886  and  1892.  (Bengali  prose.  Meant  to  prove  Krishna 
historical.)  The  Bhagavadgitd,  translated  by  M.  M.  Chatterji, 
New  York,  1887.  (A  Theosophic  attempt  to  put  the  Glta  on  a  level 
with  the  New  Testament.)  Lord  Gaurahga,  by  Shishir  Kumar  Ghose, 
Calcutta,  1897.  Two  vols.  (A  life  of  Chaitanya  in  English  prose. 
A  very  inflated  work.) 

C.   The  Sri-V  aishnavas 

The  sect  of  Ramanuja,  called  the  Sri-Vaishnavas,  holds 
a  very  striking  position  among  the  Hindus  of  the  South. 
They  own  many  of  the  greatest  and  wealthiest  temples; 
a  large  proportion  of  the  members  of  the  sect  are  Brah- 
mans;  and  English  education  has  made  great  headway 
amongst  them.  One  would  not  have  been  surprised  if 
they  had  become  organized  for  self-defence  and  advance 
much  earlier  than  most  sects.  But  they  are  divided  into 
a  pair  of  very  hostile  sub-sects,  called  Vada-galais,  and 
Ten-galais ;  and  many  of  the  members  of  both  subdivisions 
are  strictly  orthodox.  They  were  thus  rather  late  in 
developing  modern  movements. 

They  have  had  one  scholar,  however,  who  has  done  his 
very  utmost  to  uphold  the  dignity  of  the  sect  by  his  writ 
ings  both  in  English  and  the  vernacular,  Mr.  A.  Govind- 
acharya  SvamI  of  Mysore  City.  Since  1898  he  has  pub 
lished  a  long  list  of  books,  the  most  noteworthy  of  which 
are :  Ramanuja's  Commentary  on  the  Glta,  the  Holy  Lives 
of  the  Azhvdrs,  and  the  Life  of  Ramanuja.  A  little 
monthly  in  English,  named  the  Visish.ddvaitin,  was  also 
published  for  some  time,  but  it  has  been  discontinued. 

Then  in  1902  a  group  of  Sri-Vaishnavas  resident  in  the 
Mysore  State  formed  a  society  named  the  Ubhayavedanta 
Pravartana  Sabha,  or  Association  for  the  Promotion  of 
both  forms  of  the  Vedanta,  which  has  continued  to  do 


298     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

good  work  ever  since.  It  is  clearly  modelled  on  the  Madhva 
Sabha,  as  will  be  seen  from  the  following  statement  of 
aims: 

(1)  To   encourage   the   study   of   Visishtadvaita   works   in 
Sanskrit  and  Tamil ; 

(2)  To  hold  an  annual  examination  at  Melkote  (Tirunaray- 
anapuram),  the  most  sacred  Vaishnava  Shrine  in  the  Mysore 
State,  and  to  award  prizes  to  successful  candidates ;  and 

(3)  To  facilitate  the  propagation  of  Visishtadvaita  philosophy 
by  providing,  as  funds  permit,  for  the  holding  of  religious  classes, 
delivery   of  lectures,   employment   of  itinerant   teachers   and 
preachers,  etc. 

Another  society  with  similar  aims  was  recently  formed 
in  Madras,  the  Sri  Visishtadvaita  Siddhanta  Sangam. 
From  a  report  of  a  general  meeting  published  in  the  Hindu 
on  March  3rd,  1914,  it  seems  clear  that  the  society  wishes 
to  encourage  religious  education  in  the  vernacular  among 
the  young  people  of  the  community,  so  that  they  may  not 
lose  their  religion. 

LITERATURE.  —  Sri  Bhagavadgltd  with  Sri  Rdmdnuja's  Commen 
tary,  translated  by  A.  Govindacharya^  Madras,  Vaijayanti  Press, 
1898,  Rs.  5.  The  Holy  Lives  of  the  Azhvdrs  (i.e.  the  Alvars),  by 
A.  Govindacharya,  Mysore,  G.  T.  A.  Press,  1902^  Rs.  i  as.  8. 
The  Divine  Wisdom  of  the  Drdvida  Saints  (i.e.  the  Alvars),  by  A. 
Govindacharya,  Madras,  C.  N.  Press,  1902,  Rs.  2.  The  Life 
of  Ramdnuja,  by  A.  Govindacharya,  Madras,  Murthy  &  Co.,  1906, 
Rs.  2  as.  12.  (A  translation  of  a  thirteenth-century  Tamil  life.) 

D.     Four  Vaishnava  Sects 

In  the  month  of  May,  1911,  the  four  chief  Vaishnava 
sects,  the  Sri-Vaishnavas,  the  Madhvas,  the  Vallabhas  and 
the  Nimbarkas,  took  part  in  a  united  Vaishnava  Confer 
ence  held  at  Allahabad.  Several  papers  of  considerable 
interest  were  read,  and  were  afterwards  published  in  the 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       299 

Brahmavadin  for  October  and  November,  1912.  The  Con 
ference  met  also  in  1913,  at  Jaora  in  Malwa,  but  no 
Report  has  yet  been  published. 

E.   The  Saiv a  Siddhanta 

Among  the  many  sects  which  honour  Siva  the  Saiva 
Siddhanta  is  decidedly  the  most  interesting;  for  it  has  a 
great  history,  and  possesses  a  very  rich  literature,  both  in 
Sanskrit  and  Tamil.  It  is  also  one  of  the  largest  and 
most  influential  bodies  in  South  India.  A  considerable 
proportion  of  its  people  are  now  cultured  men  of  position 
and  influence.  English  education  is  spreading  steadily 
amongst  them;  and  the  pressure  of  European  thought  is 
keenly  felt. 

Saiva  Sabhas,  i.e.  Sivaite  Associations,  have  sprung  up 
in  several  places,  notably  at  Palamcottah  and  Tuticorin. 
The  Saiva  Sabha  of  Palamcottah  dates  from  1886,  and  has 
had  an  honourable  history.  Its  objects  are  the  propaga 
tion  of  the  principles  of  the  Saiva  Siddhanta  among  Saivas 
and  others,  the  supervision  of  religious  institutions,  when 
funds  are  mismanaged,  the  cultivation  of  the  Dravidian 
languages  and  the  betterment  of  social  conditions  in  South 
India.  The  means  employed  are  classes,  lectures,  the  pub 
lication  of  literature,  a  library,  and  in  recent  years,  an 
annual  Conference  (see  below).  The  Sabha  owns  a  print 
ing  press. 

The  sect  has  been  fortunate  in  drawing  the  attention  of 
a  number  of  scholarly  missionaries;  and  in  recent  years 
they  have  had  several  scholars  of  their  own,  who  have 
worked  faithfully  for  the  elucidation  of  the  literature.  Of 
these  the  chief  have  been  Mr.  V.  V.  Ramanan  and  Mr. 
J.  M.  Nallasvami  Pillai. 

Until  1895  very  u'ttle  was  known  about  the  sect.  A 
few  essays  had  appeared  by  Hoisington,  Pope  and  Cobban, 


300     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

but  that  was  all.  In  that  year,  however,  Mr.  Nallasvami 
Pillai  published  an  English  translation  1  of  what  is  regarded 
as  the  fundamental  scripture  of  the  Siddhanta,  the  Siva- 
jndna-bodha,  "  Instruction  in  Siva-Knowledge."  It  is  a 
short  manual  of  dogma  in  Sanskrit,  accompanied  by  an 
elaborate  Tamil  commentary  by  Mey-kanda-devar,  a  fa 
mous  theologian  of  the  thirteenth  century.  In  1900  Mr. 
Nallasvami  Pillai  and  his  friends  succeeded  in  starting  a 
monthly  English  magazine,  The  Siddhanta  Dipikd,  or  Lamp 
of  the  Siddhanta,  for  the  purpose  of  giving  expression  to 
the  best  thought  of  the  sect.  It  has  done  good  work. 
Many  translations  are  published  in  it.  An  English  trans 
lation  of  the  Sivaite  commentary  on  the  Veddnta-sutras, 
which  is  by  Nilakanthacharya  and  is  called  the  Saiva 
Bhdshya,  appeared  in  its  pages,  and  is  now  being  issued 
in  book  form.  In  1900  Dr.  G.  U.  Pope's  edition  and  trans 
lation  of  Manikka  Vachakar's  Tiruvdchakam 2  drew  wide 
attention  to  the  sect.  Three  years  ago  Mr.  Nallasvami 
Pillai  published  a  very  useful  volume,  called  Studies  in 
Saiva  Siddhanta.3  We  ought  also  to  mention  a  booklet  by 
the  Hon.  Mr.  P.  Arunachulam,  of  the  Ceylon  Civil  Service, 
Studies  and  Translations  from  the  Tamil.41 

Since  1906  the  sect  has  held  an  annual  Conference,  the 
Saiva  Siddhanta  Mahasamajam,  at  various  towns  in  the 
north  of  the  Tamil  country.  The  last  for  which  a  Report 
has  reached  me  was  held  at  Conjeeveram  in  December, 
1912.  Papers  are  read  and  resolutions  passed,  and  the 
whole  Conference  helps  to  encourage  and  uplift  the  sect. 
The  last  Conference  was  held  at  Vellore  on  the  26th,  2yth, 
and  28th  December,  1913.  An  interesting  appreciation 
of  the  gathering  appeared  in  The  Harvest  Field  for  January, 

1  Madras,  Somasundara  Nayagar.          2  Oxford,  the  University  Press. 

3  Madras,  Meykandan  Press,  1911,  Rs.  3. 

4  Madras,  Siddhanta  Dipika  Office,  1898,  as.  4. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       301 

1914.  Since  1909  the  Saiva  Sabha  of  Palamcottah  has 
held  an  Annual  Conference  in  Palamcottah,  which  is  very 
similar  in  character  to  the  Mahasamajam.  The  latter 
draws  its  supporters  mainly  from  the  north,  while  the 
former  influences  the  south  of  the  Tamil  country. 

In  March  last  I  had  the  privilege  and  pleasure  of  inter 
viewing  the  head  of  the  Tirujnana  Sambandha  Svaml 
Matha  in  Madura.  His  name  is  Svaminatha  Desika.  He 
received  me  most  courteously,  explained  the  course  of  in 
struction  followed  in  the  monastery,  and  also  told  me 
about  his  own  tours  among  his  disciples.  He  said  that 
he  sympathized  with  the  Saiva  Siddhanta  Mahasamajam, 
but  could  not  agree  with  it  in  all  things,  and  that  he  did 
not  attend  the  annual  gathering,  because,  among  other 
reasons,  he  does  not  feel  that,  as  a  sannyasl,  he  can  travel 
by  railway. 

F.    The  Lingdyats 

In  the  twelfth  century,  at  Kalyan  in  the  south  of  the 
Bombay  Presidency,  Basava,  the  prime  minister  of  the 
state,  founded  a  new  Saiva  sect  called  the  Vira  Saivas,  i.e. 
the  heroic,  or  excellent  Saivas.  No  Brahman  was  allowed 
to  act  as  priest  in  the  sect,1  and  the  members  renounced 
caste  altogether ;  but  the  old  poison  has  crept  in  amongst 
them  again,  and  they  demand  recognition  for  their  caste 
distinctions  in  the  census  papers.  There  seems  to  be  no 
theological  doctrine  marking  them  off  from  other  Sivaites ; 
but  each  person  wears  a  miniature  linga  (Siva's  phallic 
symbol)  in  a  reliquary  hung  around  his  neck,  and  holds  it 
in  the  palm  of  his  left  hand  during  his  private  worship. 
Hence  they  are  usually  called  Lingayats.  The  men  who 
act  as  their  priests  and  gurus  are  called  Jangamas  and 
may  belong  to  any  caste.  Jangama-worship  is  one  of  the 

1  Cf.  the  Tiyas,  below,  p.  312. 


302     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

most  essential  parts  of  the  cult  of  the  sect.  The  Jangama 
sits  down  in  yoga-posture,  and  his  disciple  sits  down  before 
him  and  performs  the  sixteen  operations  of  worship,  pre 
cisely  as  is  done  in  the  case  of  an  idol.  The  chief  books 
of  the  sect  are  Siddhdnta  Sikhdmani,  Kriyasdra,  Linga- 
dhdrana  Chandrikd,  Vlra  Saiva  Dharma  Siromani,  and  the 
bhashya  mentioned  below.  The  Basava  Puranas  are  popu 
lar  books  of  far  less  consequence. 

Thirty  years  ago  the  Lingayat  Education  Association 
was  formed  for  the  promotion  of  modern  education  within 
the  community.  Large  gifts  from  the  wealthiest  members 
of  the  sect,  supplemented  by  smaller  sums  from  others, 
sufficed  to  create  an  endowment  (now  amounting  to  Rs. 
225,000),  the  proceeds  of  which  are  used  to  help  poor 
Lingayat  boys  to  get  an  education.  This  central  fund 
has  its  office  in  Dharwar.  In  recent  years  other  organiza 
tions  have  arisen  elsewhere,  notably  the  Mysore  Lingayat 
Education  Fund,  which  was  organized  in  Bangalore  in 
1905,  and  a  hostel  for  Lingayat  students,  the  Virashaiva 
Ashram,  Kalbadevi,  Bombay.  In  consequence,  the  com 
munity  is  making  progress  in  education,  and  many  of  the 
younger  Lingayats  are  getting  into  Government  service. 

Some  ten  years  ago  the  All-India  Lingayat  Conference 
met  for  the  first  time  to  discuss  problems,  both  religious 
and  secular,  which  affect  the  life  and  standing  of  the  sect. 
In  1905  the  Conference  met  at  Bangalore,  and  the  organi 
zation  of  the  Mysore  Education  Fund  was  one  of  the  re 
sults  of  the  gathering.  The  Conference  of  1913  met  at 
Belgaum.  There  have  been  divisions  of  opinion  on  various 
questions,  especially  religious  questions;  and,  in  conse 
quence  the  Conference  has  resolved  to  restrict  itself  to 
educational,  economic  and  other  secular  problems;  and 
all  religious  subjects  are  to  be  dealt  with  by  the  Sivayog- 
mandir,  which  is  clearly  under  the  control  of  the  Jangamas. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       303 

Literature  is  not  being  neglected.  The  Lingayat  com 
mentary  on  the  Veddnta-sutras  is  by  Srlpati  Panditaradhya 
and  is  called  Srlkara  Bhdshya.  One-half  of  this  commen 
tary  was  printed  many  years  ago  in  Canarese  character, 
but,  until  recently,  no  copy,  either  manuscript  or  printed, 
of  the  second  half  was  known  to  exist.  A  good  Ms.  of  the 
latter  has  now  been  found,  and  Dewan  Bahadur  Putana 
Chetty,  until  recently  one  of  the  Councillors  of  the  Mysore 
State,  has  arranged  to  have  the  whole  text  edited  by  com 
petent  pandits  and  printed  in  devandgari.  The  philosophic 
standpoint  of  this  commentary  is  said  to  be  sakti-msisht- 
ddvaita.  Lingayats  state  that  there  were  two  earlier 
Lingayat  commentaries,  by  Renukacharya  and  Nilakanth- 
acharya  respectively,  but  no  Mss.  of  these  works  now 
exist. 

G.   The  Left-hand  Saktas 

Sakti  is  a  Sanskrit  word  meaning  strength,  energy.  It 
is  used  in  every  Hindu  sect  to  designate  the  wife  of  a  god 
as  his  energy  in  action.  Lakshmi  is  the  sakti  of  Vishnu ; 
while  Uma  is  the  sakti  of  Siva.  But  a  number  of  sects 
give  nearly  all  their  attention  to  the  sakti  of  Siva,  to  the 
neglect  of  Siva  himself.  These  sects  are  known  as  Sdktas. 
They  usually  call  the  'sakti  Dem,  i.e.  the  Goddess;  but 
Kali,  or  Durga,  is  also  frequently  used.  Their  sectarian 
books  are  called  Tantras.  • 

These  Devi-worshipping  sects  fall  into  two  groups,  dis 
tinguished  the  one  from  the  other  as  the  Right-hand 
Saktas  and  the  Left-hand  Saktas.  The  Right-hand  Saktas 
are  scarcely  distinguishable  from  ordinary  Hindus,  except 
in  this  that  they  worship  Kali ;  but  the  Left-hand  Saktas 
have  several  very  distinct  characteristics.  We  need  not 
discuss  their  theology  here  in  detail :  for  us  the  significant 
point  is  their  worship.  According  to  them  Moksha,  i.e. 


304     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

release  from  transmigration,  can  be  achieved  in  this  evil 
age  only  by  their  peculiar  ritual.  They  meet  in  private 
houses,  and  worship  in  secret.  A  group  of  worshippers  is 
known  as  a  chakra  or  circle.  In  the  room  there  is  either 
an  image  of  the  goddess  or  a  yantra,  that  is,  a  diagram  which 
mystically  represents  the  goddess.  The  actual  cult  con 
sists  in  partaking  of  the  Panchatattva,  i.e.  the  five  elements. 
They  are  also  called  the  Panchamakara,  i.e.  the  five  m's, 
because  the  Sanskrit  names  of  the  elements  all  begin  with 
the  letter  m :  they  are  wine,  meat,  fish,  parched  grain  and 
sexual  intercourse.  A  worship-circle  always  consists  of 
both  men  and  women;  and  people  of  any  caste  or  of  no 
caste  are  admitted.  The  actual  observances  are  foul 
beyond  description,  always  involving  promiscuity,  and 
often  incest. 

No  modern  organization,  so  far  as  the  writer  is  aware, 
has  undertaken  to  modernize  or  defend  this  system ;  yet 
there  have  been  tentative  defences  by  two  individuals. 
By  far  the  greatest  and  best  book  belonging  to  the  sect  is 
the  Mahdnirvdna  Tantra.  A  translation  of  this  work  was 
published  in  1900  by  Manmatha  Nath  Dutt  Sastrl,  M.A.1 
In  his  Introduction 2  the  following  paragraph  occurs : 

However  abhorrent  these  rites  may  appear  on  the  face  of  them, 
there  is  no  doubt  that  there  is  a  great  esoteric  meaning  behind 
them.  All  these,  meat,  wine,  fish  and  women  are  objects  of 
temptation.  If  a  worshipper  can  overcome  this  temptation, 
the  road  to  eternal  bliss  is  clear  for  him.  It  is  not  an  easy  affair 
for  a  man  to  have  a  youthful  and  beautiful  damsel  before  him 
and  worship  her  as  a  goddess  without  feeling  the  least  lustful 
impulse  within  him.  He  is  to  take  wine,  after  dedicating  it  to 
the  goddess,  not  for  the  purpose  of  intoxicating  but  for  that  of 
concentrating  his  mind  on  the  object  of  his  devotions.  He  is 
to  take  meat  and  fish,  not  because  they  are  palatable  dishes  but 
because  he  must  be  in  good  health  for  performing  religious  rites. 

1  Calcutta,  the  Elysium  Press.     Rs.  10.  2  P.  xxi. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF   THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       305 

Thus  we  see  that  in  Tantrik  religion,  a  worshipper  is  to  approach 
God  through  diverse  objects  of  pleasure.  He  is  to  relinquish 
his  desire  and  self  and  convert  the  various  pursuits  of  enjoyment 
into  instruments  of  spiritual  discipline. 

Last  year,  a  European  published,  under  a  nom  de  plume, 
a  new  translation  1  of  the  same  work,  with  an  Introduction, 
in  which,  while  he  does  not  openly  state  that  he  regards 
the  system  as  good  or  right,  he  yet  suggests  some  sort  of 
defence  at  every  point. 

H.   The  Smartas 

The  word  smdrta  is  an  adjective  formed  from  smriti. 
The  Smartas  are  those  Hindus  found  in  many  parts  of 
India  who  follow  Sankara,  the  great  mediaeval  exponent 
of  the  Vedanta,  in  his  monistic  exposition  of  the  Vedanta, 
his  unsectarian  recognition  of  all  the  gods  of  Hinduism, 
and  his  insistence  on  strict  adherence  to  the  rules  of  ritual 
and  of  conduct  laid  down  in  the  ancient  sutras,  which 
come  under  that  section  of  Hindu  sacred  literature  which 
is  called  smriti. 

Many  Hindu  scholars  seek  to  commend  Sankara's  phi 
losophy  to  the  world.  Here  we  mention  briefly  an  organ 
ization  of  a  more  practical  character,  which  seeks  to 
strengthen  and  defend  the  whole  Smarta  position,  namely, 
the  Advaita  Sabha  of  &umbakonam.  The  best  thing  I 
can  do  to  bring  this  movement  vividly  before  readers  is  to 
transcribe  the  following  passage  from  a  most  courteous 
letter  which  reached  me  last  January  from  Mr.  K.  Sun- 
dararaman,  who  was  a  Professor  of  History  in  a  college,  but 
has  now  retired  and  lives  in  Kumbakonam. 

The  Society  was  started  in  1895  —  chiefly  at  the  instigation 
of  some  of  the  learned  Pandits  of  the  Tanjore  District  —  among 

1  Tantra  of  the  Great  Liberation,  by  Arthur  Avalon,  London,  Luzac, 
i os.  net. 

x 


306     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

whom  must  be  mentioned  first  and  foremost,  the  greatest  modern 
Vedantist  of  South  India,  Raju  Sastri  of  Mannargudi  town. 

An  annual  assembly  of  Brahman  Pandits  of  the  school  of 
Sankaracharya  is  convened  usually  in  the  month  of  July.  It  has 
always  met  in  the  town  of  Kumbakonam,  where  there  is  a  Mutt 
(or  monastery)  presided  over  by  one  who  claims  to  be  a  .lineal 
successor  of  the  famous  founder  of  the  Advaita  School  of  Vedanta. 
The  Pandits  who  attend  are  chiefly  drawn  from  the  Southern  or 
Tamil  Districts  of  the  Madras  Presidency.  Others  are  welcome, 
and  there  have  been  years  during  which  Pandits  have  come  in 
from  Godavery  and  Krishna  Districts  which  form  part  of  the 
Telugu  country.  In  the  year  1911,  the  Annual  Session  met  at 
1  Palghat,  as  an  exceptional  case. 

There  are  four  permanent  Examiners  for  the  Sabha,  who  are 
all  of  them  men  of  great  merit  and  fame.  They  prefer  to  con 
duct  their  examinations  orally,  on  the  ground  that  such  examina 
tions  are  more  efficacious  as  a  test  of  worth.  They  also  set 
papers  to  such  as  are  unwilling  or  unable  to  stand  the  searching 
oral  test.  Some  time  is  also  given  to  the  older  and  abler  Pandits 
to  carry  on  Vakyartha  or  scholastic  disputations  on  selected 
topics  under  the  superintendence  of  the  four  Examiners. 

In  the  evenings,  popular  lectures  are  given  by  Pandits  to 
spread  a  knowledge  of  the  Vedanta  religion  among  the  lay  mem 
bers  and  the  women  of  the  Brahman  Community,  and  also  to 
interest  them  in  the  work  of  the  society. 

The  annual  session  lasts  usually  for  a  week,  but  sometimes  it 
has  lasted  2  or  3  days  more.  During  its  course,  the  assembled 
Pandits  are  fed  at  the  Society's  expense.  At  its  close,  presents 
are  made  to  them  according  to  merit,  and  their  travelling  ex 
penses  are  also  paid.  The  Examiners  are  at  present  paid  Rs. 
50  each,  besides  their  travelling  expenses. 

The  Pandits  are  attracted,  not  by  the  money  gifts,  but  by 
their  devotion  to  the  branch  of  learning  for  the  cultivation  of 
which  they  spend  their  time  and  energy,  and  by  their  earnest 
desire  to  help  forward  its  more  systematic  and  thorough  study. 
The  spectacle  is  one  rare  in  an  age  when  men's  interests  are 
predominantly  materialistic. 

The  sabha  has  engaged  a  learned  Pandit  —  who  is  one  of  the 
four  Examiners  of  the  Sabha  and  who  resides  at  Kumbakonam 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       307 

—  to  teach  the  Vedanta  philosophy  as  contained  in  the  writings 
of  Sankaracharya  and  of  some  of  the  later  writers  of  his  school. 
He  has  also  the  obligation  to  deliver  every  year  a  course  of  lec 
tures  on  a  selected  topic  or  work  in  two  leading  centres  of  one 
of  the  Tamil  Districts.  There  is  a  small  endowment  of  Rs. 
5,000  out  of  which  this  Pandit  is  paid  one  half  of  his  salary. 
The  other  half  of  his  salary  is  met  from  the  subscriptions  sporad 
ically  collected  each  year.  The  entire  annual  income  from  all 
sources  does  not  exceed  Rs.  2,000. 

The  work  of  the  society  is  very  humble  in  its  character,  and 
it  also  works  too  much  on  antique  lines.  Its  work  may,  in  course 
of  time,  get  modernized ;  and  then  it  will  live.  As  at  present 
carried  on,  it  gives  not  much  of  a  promise  for  the  future. 

Professor  Sundararaman's  own  position  will  also  be  of 
interest.  He  believes  that  the  whole  of  the  ritualistic 
system  of  Hinduism  conies  from  God,  that  every  detail 
of  it  is  right,  that  the  punctilious  observance  of  all  its  rules 
would  bring  health,  strength  and  prosperity  to  the  Indian 
people,  and  that  the  decline  of  India  during  the  last  two 
thousand  years  is  the  direct  outcome  of  the  neglect  of  these 
rules  by  large  masses  of  the  population.  The  following  is 
a  paragraph  from  one  of  his  letters  to  the  press : 1 

The  consequences  of  rebellion  against  ritualistic  Hinduism 
are  writ  plainly  on  the  face  of  the  history  of  India  for  two  thou 
sand  years  and  more.  Buddha  began  the  first  revolt,  and  since 
then  he  has  had  many  successors  and  imitators.  The  unity 
and  might  of  the  once  glorious  fabric  of  Hindu  society  and  civil 
ization  have  been  shattered,  but  not  beyond  hope  of  recovery. 
That  recovery  must  be  effected  not  by  further  doses  of 
" Protestant"  revolt,2  but  by  the  persistent  and  patient  en 
deavour  to  observe  the  injunctions  and  precepts  of  the  ancient 
Dharma 3  in  its  entirety. 

1 ISR.,  XXII,  23. 

2  This  is  a  reference  to  the  samajes,  especially  the  Brahma  and  Prarthana 
Samajes. 

?  I.e.  the  religious  law, 


308     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

I  have  been  informed  that,  in  Kathiawar,  there  is  an 
other  Smarta  organization,  the  leader  of  which  is  Mr. 
Nathu  Sarma  of  Porebandar  and  Bilkha. 

5.   CASTE  ORGANIZATIONS 

A.   Caste  Conferences 

The  modern  spirit  and  the  difficulties  of  the  times  have 
stirred  the  leading^castes,  as  well  as  the  leao^n^sects,  of 
Hinduism  to  united  action.  The  earliest  of  all  the  Caste 
organizations  was  the  Kj^a^tiia^Co^iference,  which  was 
first  held  in  1887.  These  gatherings  were  already  very 
common  by  1897  ;  for  Ranade  refers  to  them  in  an  address 
delivered  that  year.1  Caste  Conferences  may  be  local,  or 
provincial,  or  may  represent  all  India.  Like  other  con 
ferences,  they  are  held  during  the  cold  season,  very  often 
during  the  Christmas  week.  Printed  reports  of  these 
gatherings  are  very  seldom  issued ;  so  that  I  have  had  to 
rely  on  notices  in  the  newspapers  for  my  information. 

I  have  noted  Conferences  of  Brahmans  and  of  Brahman 
sub-castes,  Kshatriyas,  Rajputs,  Vaisyas,  Kayasthas  and 
Kayastha  sub-castes,  Vellalas,  Reddys,  Nairs,  Jats,  Pa- 
tidars,  Daivadnyas,  Namasudras,  etc. 

There  are  two^n^jn^jr^tiy^s  in  these  conferences.  On 
the  one  hand,  they  share  the  widespread  impulse  to  defend 

»         ~*.  -^""x.        _^— ^^^^>t^_ -«^«^^-_ --'Vj' •    •         "     .. --N_x"x^-"s^ 

the  whole  of  Hinduism,  and,  very  naturally,  within  that 
wider  object,  thdr^owji^cj^ste^gnyjle^es.  But  on  the 
other,  there  is  a  strong  desire  to  p.^matejhe^rcs^ity 
of Jjhe^caste ;  and  that  of  necessity  der^iands  the  introduc 
tion  of  such  reform^  as  may  help  the  caste  in  the  difficult 
circumstances  of  the  present.  Frequently  the  caste  appeals 
to  the  Government  for  special  privileges  which  they  once 
enjoyed  or  which  they  would  like  to  obtain.  Resolutions 

1  Essays,  165. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       309 

are  passed  on  the  subject  of  the  age  of  marriage,  of  funeral 
expenses,  and  of  marriage  expenses.  Edu£atio,n  usually 
bulks  rather  large,  and  female  education  is  frequently 
advocated.  There  is  a  grjaj^d^r^io^^iri^gr^a^r 
um£yjnjh£j^ste.  Frequent  proposals  are  made  for  mak 
ing  marriages  possible  between  sub-castes  which  at  present 
do  not  intermarry. 
For  some  time  so^iajjrefojnii^r^ 

j^es.    The  following  is  from 
a  leader  in  the  Indian  Social  Reformer: 

The  idea  of  caste  conferences  has  always  been  repugnant 
to  us,  even  when  they  have  for  their  object  the  prosecution  of 
social  reforms.  The  caste  sentiment  is  so  ingrained  in  the  Hindu 
mind,  it  so  deeply  permeates  every  fibre  of  our  being,  and  it  so 
thoroughly  colours  our  outlook,  that  it  seems  to  us  that  the  only 
effective  course  for  those  who  wish  to  see  this  state  of  mind 
altered,  is  resolutely  to  cut  themselves  off  from  anything  savour 
ing  of  the  idea.  .  .  . 

An  occasional  European  like  Mrs.  Annie  Besant  may  allow 
her  intellect  to  play  with  the  idea  of  caste  without  much  practical 
effect.  Her  nervous  system  is  strung  to  different  social  ideals, 
and  mere  intellection  does  not  produce  conduct.  But  with  one 
who  is  born  a  Hindu  and  who  believes  caste  to  _bejthe^great 
nw^^r^e]|K^^t?kill,  onljTolieaTtUudeTs^afe' and  possible. 
He  must  not  associate  himself  with  any  movement  which,  under 
whatever  name  or  pretext,  aims  at  setting  up  caste  as  its  goal 
and  standard.  To  the  subtle  j>oisonof  caste,  its  self-compla 
cency,  and  its  pharisaism,  the  HinHiPnervous  system  has  for 
centuries  been  accustomed  to  respond.  Unconsciously,  the 
best  and  most  resolute  of  reformers  are  apt  to  have  the  old 
monster  taking  liberties  with  them  if  they  slide  into  the  attitude 
of  acquiescence  in  such  movements.  These  observations  apply 
to  caste  conferences  which  meet  with  the  object  of  effecting 
reforms  in  the  habits  and  customs  of  their  respective  castes. 
They  apply  more  forcibly  to  such  movements  as  the  Saraswat 
Conference  recently  held  at  Belgaum,  whose  sole  object  is  to 
amalgamate  and  perpetuate  this  particular  caste.  The  charac- 


310    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

ter  of  the  movement  is  sufficiently  clear  from  the  fact  that  the 
one  resolution  about  social  reform,  regarding  the  marriageable 

I  age,  which  was  sought  to  be  introduced,  had  to  be  dropped  for 

ft  fear  of  breaking  up  the  Conference.1 


But  experience  seems  to  show  that  the 
ency^  is  in  most  Conferences  stronger  than  the  conservative. 
The  following  is  from  the  same  journal  as  the  above  : 

Judging  however  by  the  broad  lines  on  which  the  resolutions 
passed  at  the  annual  gatherings  of  most  of  these  bodies  are  based, 
there  is  good  reason  to  think  that  they  all  tend  to  the  prop 
agation  of  liberal  ideas  on  religious  and  social  questions  through 
out  the  land.2 

Most  magazines  are  inclined  to  take  quite  a  hopeful  view 
of  these  gatherings.  How  the  leaven  works  even  among 
rather  backward  communities,  may  be  seen  from  the  fol 
lowing  brief  report  of  a  meeting  of  one  group  of  Sikhs  in 
the  Panjab  : 

The  Sikh  Jats  assembled  the  other  day  in  a  meeting  held  at 
Budhi,  District  Jullundar,  with  the  object  of  giving  up  the  evil 
customs  prevalent  among  them  and  effecting  useful  and  neces 
sary  reforms.  Resolutions  were  passed  enjoining  the  curtail 
ment  of  expense  on  occasions  of  marriages  and  other  festivities 
and  forbidding  drink  and  nautches  on  such  occasions.  It  was 
further  resolved  that  the  siapa  should  also  be  abolished,  and 
that  on  no  occasion  should  indecent  songs  be  allowed.3 

Two  groups  of  people  which,  strictly  speaking,  belong 
to  the  great  Outcaste  population  of  India  must  find  men 
tion  here  ;  and  that  for  two  reasons.  First,  both  of  these 
communities  are  amongst  the  very  best  of  the  Outcastes. 
Secondly,  there  have  arisen  among  them  organizations  of 
sufficient  energy  and  value  to  raise  them  to  a  place  in 
modern  India  alongside  caste  people.  See  the  other  Out- 
caste  stirrings  below.4 

*  ISR.,  XX,  423-      2  Ib.,  XXI,  241.       8  Ib.,  XX,  557-      4  Pp.  368-70. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       311 

B.   The  Tiyas 

Scattered  up  and  down  the  west  coast  of  Southern 
India  there  live  three  Outcaste  communities  which  are  of 
the  same  stock,  and  which,  taken  together,  number 
1,800,000.  In  South  Kanara  they  are  called  Villa vas,  in 
Malabar  Tiyas  and  in  Travancore  Elavas.  They  now 
differ  from  each  other  in  a  variety  of  ways,  and  neither 
intermarry  nor  dine  together,  but  originally  they  were  one. 
The  new  movement  aims  at  emancipating  them  from  the 
disabilities  of  their  position  as  Outcastes,  advancing  them 
economically  and  educationally,  and  fusing  the  three 
groups  into  one  body.  The  spirit  of  the  race  and  the 
position  in  which  the  awakening  found  them  are  both 
clearly  reflected  in  the  following  extracts  from  an  address 
presented  by  them  to  Mrs.  Besant,  the  Theosophic  leader, 
in  1904 : 

We  are  very  pleased  to  hear  that  although  born  a  Christian 
you  are  prepared  to  die  a  Hindu.  .  .  .  When  you  visited 
Calicut  you  were  admitted  as  a  guest  in  one  of  the  palaces 
belonging  to  a  member  of  the  Zamorin  's  family.  This  was  ren 
dered  possible  by  the  fact  of  your  having  become  a  convert  to 
Hinduism.  But  as  we  are  Hindus  by  very  birth  we  are  pre 
vented  from  approaching  the  place.  .  .  .  Even  the  sight  of  us ' 
within  close  proximity  is  a  source  of  pollution.  ...  If  under 
such  circumstances  we  are  to  gain  admission  to  places  accessible 
to  you,  we  find  a  way  to  it  through  you.  And  it  is  this :  —  It 
is  impossible  for  us  to  be  born  Christians.  We  shall  therefore 
become  Christian  converts  first  and  then  turn  Hindus  as  you 
have  done.  This  will  relieve  us  of  our  disability  as  you  have 
cured  yourself  of  your  disability. 

Although  they  are  Outcastes,  they  have  long  been  recog 
nized  as  possessing  the  right  of  studying  and  practising 
the  old  Hindu  medicine,  and  also  Astrology.  Consequently, 
in  many  families  a  knowledge  of  Sanskrit  is  handed  down 


312     MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN    INDIA 

from  father  to  son.  For  this  and  other  reasons  they  have 
not  been  nearly  so  crushed  and  depressed  as  most  Out- 
caste  tribes  are. 

In  one  of  the  old  medical  families,  settled  three  miles 
north  of  Trivandrum  in  Travancore,  a  boy  was  born  who 
was  called  Nanu  Ashan.  He  knew  a  little  Sanskrit,  having 
been  taught  the  medical  lore  traditional  in  his  family. 
But,  besides  that,  he  managed  one  way  or  another  to  per 
suade  some  Hindu  scholar  or  scholars  to  give  him  some 
thing  of  a  Hindu  theological  training.  I  have  failed  to 
learn  who  his  teachers  were,  or  what  sect  or  school  they 
belonged  to.  He  became  an  ascetic,  taking  the  name  of 
Narayana.  He  is  now  known  as 


About  1890  he  began  to  urge  his  community  to  make  a 
new  beginning  religiously.  Hitherto  they  had  been  devil- 
worshippers  like  the  mass  of  the  Outcastes.  He  urged  them 
tojbuild^temples  j^r^hemsdves,  and  to  worship  the  Hindu 
gods  in  orthodox  fashion,  but  to  appoint  members  of  their 
own  community  as  priests.  Gradually  the  movement 
caught  on.  It  has  spread  to  the  North  and  the  South  ; 
and  there  are  now  thirty  temples  in  all.  A  small  Sanskrit 
school  is  usually  attached  to  each  temple.  The  movement 
is  thoroughly  orthodox  in  everything  except  in  its  non- 
Brahman  priests.  So  much  for  the  religious  leader. 

The  other  leader  is  a  layman.  Within  Travancore 
State  the  Elavas  were  under  serious  disabilities.  Govern 
ment  service  was  closed  to  them,  and  their  children  were 
not  allowed  to  study  in  the  schools.  A  young  man  (now 
Dr.  Palpu  of  the  Mysore  Medical  Service)  succeeded,  in 
extremely  difficult  circumstances,  in  getting  an  education 
for  himself;  and  then  set  to  work  to  get  the  disabilities 
removed.  Government  service  under  the  Travancore 
Government  is  now  open  to  the  community,  and  most  of 
the  schools  are  open  also. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF   THE  OLD   RELIGIONS       313 

An  organization  was  started  in  1903  to  draw  the  people 
together  and  to  work  for  their  betterment.  It  is  called 
the  S.  N.  D.  P.  Yogam,  or  in  full,  the  Sri  Narayana  Dharma 
Paripalana  Yogam,  i.e.  Union  for  the  Protection  of  the  Sri 
Narayana  Religion.  This  union,  which  represents  the  three 
sections  of  the  community,  has  its  headquarters  in  Trivan- 
drum.  Local  Yogams  have  been  started  in  some  thirty- 
three  places,  notably  in  Parur,  Calicut  and  Tellicherry. 
An  Annual  Conference  is  held,  now  at  one  place,  now  at 
another.  Sometimes  an  Industrial  Exhibition  accompanies 
the  Conference.  The  Yogam  supports  a  number  of 
preachers,  some  of  whom  are  sannyasls.  They  move  about 
the  country,  giving  lectures  in  the  temples  and  elsewhere, 
and  teaching  the  people.  Most  of  the  temples  are  related 
one  way  or  another  to  the  Yogam,  and  some  are  directly 
managed  by  it.  They  have  an  educational  fund,  from 
which  money  is  advanced  as  loans  to  poor  students.  At 
Alwaye,  where  Sankara,  the  great  Vedantist,  was  born, 
they  have  a  monastery  which  they  wish  to  transform  into 
a  Sanskrit-English  College.  A  good  deal  of  money  and 
effort  is  being  used  to  spread  industrial  and  agricultural 
education  and  to  advance  the  community  economically. 
Social  reform  is  also  sought.  A  magazine,  the  Vivekodaya, 
is  published  from  the  office  in  Trivandrum. 

The  religious  side  of  the  movement  has  very  little  reality 
in  it.  Most  of  the  leaders  have  adopted  it,  as  some  of  them 
said  to  me,  merely  to  catch  the  interest  of  the  masses,1 
and  to  keep  them  from  becoming  Christians.  On  the  other 
hand,  the  new  system  is  perhaps  a  little  better  than  the 
old  devil-worship.  It  is  also  of  considerable  interest 
to  the  student  as  a  modern  parallel  to  the  rise  of  the 
Lingayats.2 

1  Cf.  the  Arya  Samaj,  above,  pp.  118-20.  2  P.  301,  above. 


314     MODERN   RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN    INDIA 

C.   The  Vokkaligas 

The  Vokkaligas  also  are  technically  Outcastes,  but 
really  are  as  fine  a  people  as  great  masses  of  Sudras  are. 
They  are  the  peasant  class  of  the  Mysore  State,  and  num 
ber  about  a  million  and  a  quarter,  one  fourth  of  the  whole 
population  of  the  State.  They  are  a  simple,  hardy,  kindly 
people,  but,  otherwise,  they  were  very  backward  until  the 
new  movement  waked  them. 

In  1906  seven  individuals  came  together,  and  said,  "It 
is  time  that  we  bestir  ourselves  to  see  that  the  poor  have 
the  benefit  of  education."  They  found  a  rich  man,  and 
promised  to  work,  if  he  would  provide  money.  He  promised 
to  give  Rs.  10,000. 

It  was  resolved  to  hold  a  Conference  in  Bangalore. 
The  peasants  came  in  thousands ;  enthusiasm  grew ;  and 
Rs.  50,000  were  subscribed  on  the  spot.  Thus  the  Vok- 
kaligara  Sangha,  or  union,  was  formed,  and  the  work  began. 
The  aims  of  the  movement  are  as  follows : 

(1)  To  adopt  means  for  the  awakening  of  the  people  by  send 
ing  lecturers  into  the  villages  to  preach  to  them  the  value  of 
education,  the  advantage  of  improving  their  methods  of  cultiva 
tion,  the  benefit  accruing  from  paying  attention  to  sanitation, 
hygiene,  domestic  science,  etc. 

(2)  To  hold  periodical  Conferences  in  different  parts  of  the 
State,  at  which  all  questions  relating  to  the  amelioration  of  the 
community  are  dealt  with.     A  spirit  of  unity,  concord,  and 
brotherly  feeling  is  sure  to  result  from  such  meetings. 

(3)  To   establish   the  headquarters   of   the  Association   in 
Bangalore,  where  arrangements  will  be  made  for  the  boarding 
and  lodging  of  the  students  coming  from  the  country  for  study. 
It  is  intended  to  make  it  the  centre  of  activity.     Courses  of 
illustrated  lectures  on  all  useful  subjects,  a  reading  room,  a 
library,  a  museum,  on  a  small  scale,  of  the  arts  and  crafts  of  the 
community,  a  gymnasium,  athletic  grounds,  evening  classes  in 
technical  subjects,  are  all  proposed  to  be  instituted.     Similar 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       315 

institutions  on  a  smaller  scale  may  be  erected  in  the  principal 
towns  of  the  State  as  funds  permit. 

(4)  To  establish  and  maintain  Demonstration  Farms,  show 
ing  modern  methods  of  cultivation  and  machinery  employed  for 
the  purpose.     The  organisation  of  exhibitions  to  show  to  the 
people  how  to  secure  better  housing  conditions,  and  better 
sanitary  and  healthy  surroundings  are  also  intended. 

(5)  The  publication  of  a  newspaper  and  other  periodicals  to 
educate  the  people  and  to  spread  among  them  wholesome  and 
progressive  ideas.    It  is  intended  to  make  illustrated  journalism 
a  feature  of  this  branch  of  work. 

(6)  To  work  in  co-operation  with  the  Government  in  their 
efforts  to  bring  about  the  progress  of  the  State. 

The  Sangha  now  owns  a  press  which  does  printing  in 
both  English  and  Canarese,  a  building  worth  Rs.  30,000, 
with  a  hostel  for  one  hundred  boys  on  a  site  given  by  Gov 
ernment,  and  a  newspaper,  the  Vokkaligara  Patrika,  one 
of  the  best  in  the  State.  The  aim  of  the  movement  is  to 
get  the  peasant  boys  to  come  for  education.  They  live  at 
the  hostel ;  those  who  can  afford  it  pay ;  those  who  can 
not  are  paid  for  by  the  Society.  The  boys  attend  the 
Government  schools ;  there  is  the  closest  cooperation  and 
good  will  between  the  Government  and  the  Peasants' 
Movement.  The  best  methods  of  Western  organization 
have  been  adapted  to  the  needs  of  the  organization  and  the 
spirit  of  service  dominates  all  the  work.  After  seven  years, 
with  its  position  now  well  established,  the  Peasants'  Move 
ment  realizes  how  much  work  is  yet  to  be  done.  The  special 
development  now  to  be  undertaken  is  the  improvement  of 
agricultural  education  and  methods,  and  the  simple,  sober, 
religious,  intelligent  character  of  the  peasants  makes  them 
good  material  on  which  to  work.  Four  Conferences  have 
been  held.  Lecturers  go  into  the  interior  on  the  occa 
sions  of  fairs  and  festivals  where  large  numbers  of  people 


3i6     MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS   IN   INDIA 

collect  to  make  known  to  them  the  aims  and  objects  of 
the  Association,  to  enrol  new  subscribers  for  the  Associa 
tion's  newspaper,  and  also  new  members  of  the  Association.1 

6.  THE  BHARATA  DHARMA  MAHAMANDALA 
A  bold  attempt  has  been  made  during  recent  years  to 

gather  together  the  whole  of  the  Hindu  people  in  a  single 

organization,  partly  in  self-defence,  partly  for  further  in 

struction  in  religion.  • 

i.   By  the  year  1890,  as  a  result^of  the^work  of  the 

Arya  Samaj,  of  Ramakrishna  and  the  TheosoDhists.  there 

>--O—  ^--»ta.  S*~>  -*^-S^^<~~~~£'  *~~^~*-^<  ---  W         ' 

was  a  general  uprising  of  the  educated  Hindu  spirit  in 
defence  of  Hinduism.  Out  of  this  widespread  desire  to 
strengthen  the  old  faith  there  sprang  a  number  of  organ 
izations.  In  the  Panjab  the  movement  was  started  by  a 
Brahman,  who  had  been  a  cook,  but  is  now  known  as 


the^Arva  Samajjon  orthodox  Hinduism,  he  attacked  the 
Samaj  in  turn,  and  taught  the  people  to  retain  their  idols 
and  live  in  orthodox  fashion.  He  had  had  no  Sanskrit 
training  nor  English  education,  but  he  was  a  brilliant 
speaker  and  he  was  so  successful  that  a  number  of  pandits 
and  titled  men  gathered  round  him.  Then  in  1895  they 
founded  the  Sanatan  Dharma  Sabha  in  Hardwar  and 
Delhi.  In  1896  Svami  Gyananandaji  started  in  Muttra  a 
movement  called  the  Nigamagama  Mandali.  In  Bengal 
the  Dharma  Mahamandali2  arose.  In  Southern  India 
Pandit  Sastrlji  Pade  founded  the  Bharata  Dharma  Maha- 
parishad.  All  these  organizations  aimed  at  defg(iclin£ 
orth^cloxJEJin^jiism,  but  they  were  not  connected  with  one 
another.3 

1  See  LS7?.,  May  lyth,  1914,  pp.  435  and  438. 

2  A  Sanatana  Dharma  Rakshini  Sabha  had  been  formed  in  Calcutta  as 
early  as  1873.     See  Dayanand  Sarasvati  (Natesan)  28. 

3  Mahamandal  Magazine,  vol.  I,  no.  4,  pp.  1-2. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD   RELIGIONS       317 

By  igoo  these  movements  had  made  so  much  progress 
that  a  natipnal^Conference  was  held  at  Delhi  under  the 
presidency  of  the  Maharaja  of  Darbhahga.  One  note 
worthy  episode  in  the  Conference  was  a  great  procession  in 
which  the  President  walked  barefooted,  carrying  a  copy 
of  the  Vedas,  and  attended  by  nearly  a  hundred  thousand 
people.1 

2.  In  1902  it  became  possible  to  unite  the  various 
bodies  in  one  large  organization,  and  the  Bharata  Dharma 
Majiajnandala  was  formed  at  Muttra.  SvamI  Gyan- 
anandaji  became  Organizing  Secretary,  and  Gopmath,  a 
graduate,  worked  along  with  him.  Pandit  Dm  Dayal 
continued  to  do  very  valuable  work  for  the  movement. 
The  Mahamandala  was  registered,  and  a  constitution  was 
drawn  up.  In  1905  the  headquarters  of  the  Association 
were  moved  to  Benares,  where  they  are  to-day. 

The  following  are  said  to  be  the  objects  of  the  Associa 
tion : 

(a)  To  promote  Hindu  religious  education  in  accordance  with 
the  Sanatan  Dharma,  to  diffuse  the  knowledge  of  the  Vedas, 
Smritis,  Purans  and  other  Hindu  Shastras  and  to  introduce,  in 
the  light  of  such  knowledge,  useful  reforms  into  Hindu  Life 
and  Society. 

(b)  To  promote  and  enrich  the  Sanskrit  and  Hindi  literatures 
in  all  the  branches. 

(c)  To  introduce  such  useful  reforms  as  may  be  warranted  by 
the  Shastras  in  the  management  of  the  Hindu  Charitable  and 
religious  institutions  and  Tirthas,  i.e.  sacred  places. 

(<T)  To  establish,  affiliate  and  control  Branch  Sabhas  in 
different  parts  of  India. 

(e)  To  found  and  maintain  new  and  to  support  the  existing 
Hindu  Colleges,  Schools,  Libraries  and  publishing  establish 
ments  in  consonance  with  the  object  of  the  Association. 

1  Madras  Decennial  Missionary  Conference  Report,  306-7. 


318     MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN    INDIA 

(/)  To  adopt  all  proper  and  lawful  means  and  measures  to 
carry  out  the  above  objects. 

The  work  of  the  Association  is  distributed  among  five 
departments,  The  Preaching  Department,  The  Religious 
Endowments  Department,  The  Department  of  Sacred 
Learning,  The  Library  and  Research  Department,  and 
The  Publishing  Department. 

The  Mahamandala  publishes  an  Anglo-Hindi  monthly, 
the  Mahamandal  Magazine,  and  several  provincial  maga 
zines,  in  the  vernacular;  and  the  Research  Department 
has  its  own  organ,  called  Vidyd  Ratnakar.  One  of  the  chief 
difficulties  of  the  Association  is  to  find  preachers  "worthy 
of  the  name":  an  attempt  is  being  made  to  meet  this 
need  by  means  of  a  training-school  at  headquarters. 

The  Mahamandala  advertises  a  long  list  of  books  for 
sale;  and  the  following  note  comes  at  the  end  of  the 
advertisement : 

For 

UPANISHADS 
VEDAS 
SMRITIS 
PURANAS 
TANTRAS 

HINDI  PHILOSOPHICAL  WORKS 

and  all  kinds  of  Sanskrit  and  Hindu  religious  books, 

Apply  to  the  Manager,  Gurudham,  Benares  City. 

Numerous  booklets  for  free  distribution  are  also  appearing. 
Under  the  general  supervision  of  this  great  national 
body  come  a  number  of  Provincial  Associations,  and  under 
these  in  turn  are  some  600  local  societies,  called  Sabhas 
in  the  towns  and  villages.  There  are  provincial  offices 
and  organizations  in  Calcutta,  Bombay,  Lahore,  Ajmere, 
Muttra  and  Darbhanga.  There  is  no  provincial  organiza 
tion  in  Madras. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       319 

For  eight  years  the  newly  formed  organization  enjoyed 
abounding  prosperity  under  the  gujd^rj^e^f^S^mi^G^an- 
aiiandaji.  In  IQIO,  however,  he  decided  to  retire  from  the 
position  of  organizing  secretary.  He  was  able  to  give  a 
very  satisfactory  account  of  his  stewardship  during  the 
eight  years.  The  Association  had  been  recognized  as  a 
body  representing  the  whole  Hindu  community  by  the 
heads  of  the  chief  Hindu  sects  and  religious  orders.  Some 
600  branches  had  been  opened,  and  about  400  institutions 
had  become  affiliated.  Nearly  200  preachers  were  em 
ployed;  a  considerable  literature  had  been  put  into  cir 
culation  ;  and  large  sums  of  money  had  been  subscribed. 

The  Mahamandala  has  never  recovered  from  the  loss  of 
this  organizer's  work.  For  two  years  after  his  retirement 
there  was  constant  weakness,  and  bickering.  In  1912  the 
chief  secretary  was  forced  to  resign  through  vigorous  action 
taken  by  the  Bengal  Provincial  Organization,  and  Mr. 
Sarada  Charan  Mitra,  who  was  until  recently  a  Justice  of 
the  High  Court  of  Calcutta,  became  Chief  Secretary  in  his 
place ;  and  it  is  hoped  that  work  will  now  go  on  satisfac 
torily.  The  Maharaja  of  Darbhanga  is  the  General 
President  of  the  Mahamandala,  and  by  his  wealth  and 
prestige  adds  greatly  to  its  strength ;  but  the  leading  per 
sonality  in  the  movement  at  present  is  Pandit  Madan 
Mohan  Malaviya,  who  is  one  of  the  most  prominent  men 
in  the  United  Provinces  as  an  educationalist  and  politician, 
and  who  has  been  the  leading  spirit  in  all  that  has  been 
done  to  found  a  Hindu  University. 

3.  Through  its  extreme  orthodoxy  the  Mahamandala 
has  won  the  adherence  of  numerous  ruling  princes  and 
sectarian  pontiffs ;  and  tens  of  thousands  of  young  Hindus 
are  ready  to  applaud  both  its  theological  position  and  its 
propaganda;  but  of  the  many  thousands  who  shout  ap 
proval  there  are  very  few  indeed  who  are  willing  to  lay  a 


320     MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN   INDIA 

hand  to  the  work.  The  contrast  between  orthodoxy  and 
such  bodies  as  the  Brahma  Samaj  or  the  Arya  Samaj  in 
this  regard  is  very  striking,  and  very  significant :  there  is 
no  spontaneous  living  energy  in  the  orthodox  community. 
Then,  thinking  Hindus  all  over  the  country  disapprove 
very  seriously  of  the  reactionary  character  of  its  teaching. 
The  editor  of  the  Indian  Social  Reformer,  referring  to  the 
fact  that  the  Mahamandala  wishes  to  uphold  the  old  rule, 
that  no  Hindu  may  cross  the  sea,  comments  severely  on 
the  unhealthy  character  of  the  whole  propaganda ; 1  while 
the  Leader  of  Allahabad  says : 

We  receive  from  time  to  time  papers  relating  to  the  internal 
strife  in  the  Bharat  Dharma  Mahamandal  with  the  request  that 
we  should  express  our  opinion  on  the  merits  of  the  personal 
' "controversies  that  have  been  going  on.  We  are  sorry  we  must 
decline  the  courteous  invitation.  To  our  mind  the  best  that 
could  happen  to  the  country,  the  Hindu  community  and  the  Maha 
mandal  itself  is  that  that  organization  should  decree  its  own 
abolition.  It  is  so  very  reactionary  in  its  religious  and  social 
tendencies  and  activities  that  far  from  promoting  the  well- 
being  and  advancement  of  the  community,  it  does  a  lot  of  harm 
—  whenever  it  does  anything  at  all,  that  is  to  say.  Its  members 
are  so  wealthy  and  influential  that  if  they  are  so  minded  they 
can  make  themselves  a  powerful  help  to  progress.  But  the 
misfortune  and  mischief  is  that  they  do  not.2 

The  Mahamandala  stands  above  all  things  for  the  defence 
o£^th^w^le_£f^Hinduism,  the^S ajiatana^  j)harma ,  the 
Eternal  Religion,  as  they  call  it.  The  foundation  of  such 
an  organization  is  in  itself  almost  a  portent.  Hinduism 
has  never  in  the  course  of  its  whole  history  been  a  single 
organization.  It  has  been  a  natural  growth,  springing  up 
and  spreading  like  the  grass,  the  flowers  and  the  forests  of 
India.  No  one  has  ever  been  able  to  count  its  sects,  or  to 

1  ISR.,  XXII,  121.  2  ib.,  XXII,  518. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       321 

classify  its  multitudes  of  wandering  ascetics.  Nor  until 
now  has  the  Hindu  ever  felt  the  need  of  union  for  defence. 
Apologetic  against  Jains  and  Buddhists  one  does  find  in 
the  ancient  literature ;  and  there  are  frequent  references  to 
persecution  also ;  but  these  things  were  left  to  philosophers 
and  kings :  the  ordinary  Hindu  went  his  way  unheeding. 
How  great  then  is  the  pressure  of  the  modern  spirit  and  of 
Christian  criticism  to-day ! 

It  is  also  worthy  of  notice  that,  although  the  purpose 
of  the  organization  is  to  defend  and  maintain  the  ancient 
religion  unchanged,  the  modern  spirit  shows  itself  in  much 
of  the  work  of  the  Association.  First  of  all,  like  every  other 
modern  religious  movement  in  India,  the  Mahamandala 
finds  itself  dnyjjn^to^se^foj^th^^ 

lig^n^foj^lljmnkind.     To  defend  a  religion  which  is  butf 
the  religion  of  the  Hindus  is  felt  to  be  impossible  for  the' 
modern  mind.     Hence  we  have  the  extraordinary  spectacle/ 
of  this  organization,  created  for  the  express  purpose  or 
defending  the  religion  which  in  all  its  own  sacred  books  is 
expressly  restricted  to  the  four  highest  castes  —  Brahmans, 
Kshatriyas,  Vaisyas  and  Sudras,  —  making  the  following  v 
declaration : 

But  the  Sanatan  Dharma  is  not  marked  by  any  such  spirit  t 
of  narrowness  or  exclusiveness.  It  is  not  a  particular  creed  \ 
promising  salvation  to  its  followers  alone ;  it  is  the  universal ' 
Dharma  for  all  mankind.1 

Again,  in  all  the  sacred  literature  of  Hinduism  the  rule 
is  laid  down  that  the  Vedas  must  not  be  made  known  to 
any  one  except  initiated  members  of  the  three  twice-born 
castes,  Brahmans,  Kshatriyas  and  Vaisyas.  No  woman, 
and  no  Sudra  may  hear  the  sacred  words,  not  to  speak  of 
Outcastes  and  foreigners.  This  rule  may  be  found  thou- 

1  Mahamandal  Magazine,  vol.  I,  no.  i,  p.  8. 


322     MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN    INDIA 

sands  of  times  in  all  the  great  books,  legal  and  philosophical. 
In  the  earliest  of  Hindu  law-books  we  read : 

If  a  Sudra  listens  intentionally  to  a  recitation  of  the  Veda, 
his  ears  shall  be  filled  with  some  molten  tin  or  lac.  If  he  recites 
Veda  texts,  his  tongue  shall  be  cut  out.  If  he  remembers  them, 
his  body  shall  be  split  in  twain.1 

Yet  this  most  orthodox  movement,  backed  by  the  heads 
of  all  the  greatest  Hindu  sects,  sells  copies  of  any  part  of 
the  Vedas  to  any  one  who  cares  to  buy  them,  and  en 
courages  their  study,  no  matter  what  a  man's  caste  may 
be.2  Clearly,  the  freedom  as  well  as  the  universality  of 
Christianity  is  working  with  irresistible  force  within  the 
very  citadel  of  Hinduism. 

Perhaps  the  most  striking  evidence  of  the  working  of  the 
leaven  that  has  yet  appeared  is  a  paper  which  occurs  in 
the  first  number  of  the  official  organ  of  the  movement,  The 
Mahdmandal  Magazine.  It  is  a  clear,  well-written,  for 
cible  paper  by  Professor  Phani  Bhusan  Adhikari,  M.A., 
on  The  Need  of  a  Critical  HistoryoJ^Hinduism.  The  fol 
lowing  quotations  from  this  article  will  show  where  this 
thoughtful  defender  of  orthodox  Hinduism  stands;  but 
the  paper  as  a  whole  is  most  significant  and  well  worth 
study : 

But  Hinduism  has  erred  too  much  on  the  side  of  its  catholicity. 
Its  philosophy  has  made  it  unpractical,  as  every  philosophy 
does  its  adherents.  What  would  have  otherwise  been  an  excel 
lent  virtue  has  proved  to  be  a  pernicious  vice.  Hinduism  is  un 
practical,  and  who  knows  to  what  extent  the  unpractical  nature 
of  the  Hindu  character  may  have  been  due  to  the  catholicity  of 
its  religious  spirit?  In  adopting  everything  within  itself,  it 
does  not  appear  to  have  made  a  selection  between  the  useful  and 
the  useless ;  and  in  cases  where  this  selection  has  been  of  the 
useful,  it  is  reluctant  to  give  up  what,  once  so  useful,  has  now 
become  not  only  useless  but  positively  injurious.  .  .  . 

1  Gautama  Dharmasutra,  XII,  4-6.  2  See  above,  p.  318. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       323 

Now,  if  we  take  a  somewhat  wide  survey  of  what  popularly 
goes  by  the  name  of  Hinduism  (and  Hinduism  is  now  too  much 
popular),  we  find  that  it  consists  mostly  in  the  observance  of 
certain  practices,  the  meaning  of  the  use  of  which  is  hardly 
known  to  or  can  be  explained  even  by  those  who  pose  as  au 
thorities  on  the  religion.  .  .  . 

Those  who  have  eyes  to  see  will  observe  that  the  present-day 
Hinduism  of  the  popular  type  consists  in  the  scrupulous  per 
formance  of  certain  rites  and  the  unquestioning  maintenance  of 
certain  forms  the  meaning  of  which  is  almost  unknown.  It  is 
these  which  under  the  name  of  Sanatana  Dharma  is  the  all  of 
popular  Hinduism.  .  .  . 

For  permanent  results  of  a  beneficial  nature,  some  other 
method  of  action  has  become  desirable  to  adopt.  The  method 
that  suggests  itself  for  the  purpose  is  historical  and  critical 
(although  both  go  hand-in-hand  in  a  subject  like  religion). 
This  is  the  method  which  has  been  found  highly  useful  in  pre 
serving  the  essentials  of  Christianity. 

The  Hindu  nation  is  passing  now  through  what  may  be  called* 
a  transition-period.  The  situation  is  very  critical.  There? 
are  signs  all  around  of  a  break  with  the  old  which  has  been  found  ^ 
to  be  effete  and  in  some  cases  positively  unhealthy  for  the  life  I 
of  the  nation  in  the  present  altered  conditions.  .  .  . 

What  is  wanted  is  a  band  of  scholars  forming  an  association 
with  a  common  object.  .  .  . 

7.  THE  ALL-INDIA  SUDDHI  SABHA 
In  the  nineties  a  movement  arose  in  the  Panjab  for  re 
admitting  to  the  Hindu  community  people  who  had  passed 
over   to  other  faiths.1     Since   a  Hindu  becomes  impure 
through  embracing  another  religion,  the  method  adopted 
is  to  subject  those  who  return  to  a  purifying  ceremony. 
Hence  the  name  Suddhi  Sabha,  purification  society.     At  a 
later  date  other  provinces  formed  similar  organizations; 
and  now  there  is  an  All-India  Suddhi  Sabha,  which  holds 
1  Ranade,  Essays,  164.    Census  of  India,  1911,  vol.  I,  128. 


324     MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN    INDIA 

an  annual  Conference.  In  1913  the  Conference  was  held 
at  Karachi  in  the  Christmas  holidays.  The  Arya  Samaj 
still  take  a  large  share  in  the  work ;  but  other  bodies,  and 
notably  the  Prarthana  Samaj,  are  interested. 

8.  THE  JAINS 

The  Jain  system  arose  within  Hinduism  in  the  sixth 
century  B.C.,  a  little  before  Buddhism ;  and,  like  Buddhism, 
broke  away  from  the  parent  faith  at  an  early  date  and 
became  a  distinct  religion.  It  is,  like  Buddhism,  an 
atheistic  system.  The  supreme  religious  aim  of  the  system 
is  to  free  the  soul  from  matter.  Its  chief  doctrine  is 
that  there  are  souls  in  every  particle  of  earth,  air,  water 
and  fire,  as  well  as  in  men,  animals  and  plants;  and  its 
first  ethical  precept  is,  Do  not  destroy  life.  In  conse 
quence,  the  Jain  has  to  obey  many  rules  in  order  to  avoid 
taking  life  in  any  of  its  forms.  Another  of  the  original 
beliefs  is  that  the  endurance  of  austerities  is  a  great  help 
towards  salvation.  From  the  very  beginning,  the  com 
munity  was  divided  into  monks  and  laymen,  the  former 
alone  subjecting  themselves  to  the  severest  discipline.  In 
Jainism  the  Tlrthakaras  hold  the  place  which  the  Buddhas 
hold  in  Buddhism.  By  the  Christian  era  the  Jains,  like 
the  Buddhists,  had  begun  to  use  idols.  Images  of  the 
Tlrthakaras  are  worshipped  in  their  temples. 

The  above  brief  account  of  the  rise  of  Jainism  is  drawn 
from  the  writings  of  Western  scholars  who  have  studied  the 
original  authorities.  But  there  is  a  group  of  scholarly 
Jains  who  do  not  accept  these  statements.  Their  account 
of  the  history  runs  as  follows : 

The  Jain  system  was  founded  in  AyodhyiS,  untold  ages  ago  by 
Rishabha.  It  was  reformed  by  Parsvanath  in  the  eighth  cen 
tury.  The  last  reformer,  Mahavira,  rose  in  the  sixth  century. 
Jainism  has  been  a  rival  of  Hinduism  from  the  beginning. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       325 

All  my  information  about  modern  movements  among 
the  Jains  I  owe  to  two  friends,  Mrs.  Sinclair  Stevenson  of 
Rajkot,  Kathiawar,  and  Mr.  J.  L.  Jaini,  Barrister-at-Law. 
Mr.  Jaini  has  revised  and  accepted  as  correct  the  whole 
of  my  essay  from  this  point  onwards. 

At  an  early  date  the  Jain  community  broke  into  two 
sects.  What  divided  them  was  the  question  whether 
Jain  monks  should  wear  clothes  or  not;  and  the  names 
of  the  sects  still  indicate  this  difference.  One  sect  is  called 
Svetambara,  that  is,  clothed-in-white ;  the  other  Digam- 
bara,  that  is,  clothed-in-atmosphere,  because  their  monks 
wear  no  clothes. 

After  the  Christian  era  the  Jain  community  seems  to 
have  grown  rapidly  in  numbers  and  influence.  They  were 
prosperous  and  wealthy  business  people.  In  various  parts 
of  India  they  obtained  royal  patronage,  and  abundance  of 
resources.  In  both  the  North  and  the  South  there  are  re 
mains  of  architecture  from  the  early  centuries  which  show 
that  the  sect  was  very  prominent.  They  had  numerous 
scholars  who  created  a  great  literature  on  the  original 
sacred  books  of  the  sect,  and  also  cultivated  with  success 
all  the  sciences  which  were  current  in  India  in  mediaeval 
times. 

But  their  power  was  broken  in  the  South  by  the  rise  of 
the  Sivaite  and  Vishnuite  sects ;  and  at  a  later  date  the  same 
cause  steadily  weakened  and  depressed  them  in  the  North. 
It  seems  clear  that  for  many  centuries  there  has  been  a 
continuous  drift  of  the  Jain  population  into  Hinduism; 
while  Hindu  thought  and  practice  have  as  continuously 
found  their  way  into  Jain  temples  and  homes.  In  Svetam 
bara  temples  to-day  the  minis trants  are  usually  Hindus; 
and  nearly  all  Jain  families  call  in  Brahmans  to  assist 
them  in  their  domestic  ceremonies. 

The  steady  drift  towards  Hinduism  is  still  in  progress,  as 


326     MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN    INDIA 

the  following  table  will  show.  The  three  last  Reports  of 
the  Census  of  India  give  the  following  as  the  figures  for  the 
Jain  population : 

1891  ....  1,500,000 
1901  ....  1,334,000 
1911  ....  1,248,000 

In  1473  A.D.  a  movement  arose  amongst  Svetambara 
Jains  in  Ahmabadad  against  idolatry,  with  the  result  that  a 
group  broke  away  and  formed  a  non-idolatrous  sect.  They 
are  called  Sthanakavasls.  The  three  sects,  Digambaras, 
Svetambaras  and  Sthanakavasls,  divide  the  Jain  com 
munity  fairly  evenly  between  them,  each  numbering  about 
400,000  souls. 

Colebrooke  published  a  certain  amount  of  information 
about  the  Jain  sect  early  in  the  nineteenth  century,  but 
their  early  history  was  not  understood  until  the  Pali  litera 
ture  of  Ceylonese  Buddhism  became  available  towards  the 
end  of  the  century.  A  number  of  the  Jain  texts  have  been 
translated  into  English  in  recent  years,  and  many  Jain 
inscriptions  have  been  deciphered ;  but  much  still  remains 
to  be  done  to  make  the  history  and  the  teaching  of  the  sect 
fully  intelligible. 

2.  Jains  began  to  take  advantage  of  Western  education 
both  in  Bengal  and  in  Bombay  almost  as  early  as  any  other 
community ;  and  they  have  prospered  exceedingly  in  busi 
ness  under  British  rule.  They  are  a  very  wealthy  com 
munity.  The  pearl  trade  of  the  East  is  almost  altogether 
in  their  own  hands.  Hence  Jains  are  scattered  in  many 
parts  of  the  world,  notably  in  Britain,  France  and  South 
Africa.  One  Jain  has  received  the  honour  of  knighthood, 
Sir  Vasonji  Tricumji  of  Bombay. 

Yet  the  better  men  of  the  community  are  deeply  con 
scious  that  the  Jains  are  in  a  very  perilous  position.  The 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD   RELIGIONS       327 

following  quotations  will  show  what  some  of  the  leaders 
think: 

Are  we  on  our  way  to  attain  that  level  of  life  ?  I  think  we 
are  not.  Firstly,  because  we  are  dwindling  down  year  after 
year.  Secondly,  our  little  community  is  a  house  divided  against 
itself.  Thirdly,  we  have  reduced  our  power  to  the  lowest  limit 
by  cutting  the  community  into  numberless  castes.1 

Alas  !  the  body  of  Jainism  is  in  a  very  bad  way.  It  is  not 
only  ill,  but  perhaps  it  is  already  lifeless.  .  .  .  Knowledge  of 
Jainism  is  almost  extinct.  Very  few  original  texts  are  extant ; 
they  are  unknown  to  the  Jaina  masses,  even  to  their  learned 
leaders,  and  are  very  rarely  read  even  in  private,  not  to  speak  of 
public  meetings.  The  spiritual  or  rather  anti-spiritual  food  of 
the  masses  is  derived  partly  from  crude  half  Jaina,  half  non- 
Jama  truths  or  half  truths  and  partly  superstitions  upon  which 
their  lives  are  based  in  our  towns  and  villages.  .  .  .  The  Jaina 
community  is  dying ;  perhaps  it  is  already  dead ;  at  any  rate 
its  condition  is  very  serious.2 

In  consequence,  a  keen  desire  for  organization  and  reform 
began  to  manifest  itself  about  1890;  and  rather  valuable 
results  have  followed.  There  has  been  no  movement 
created  comparable  with  the  Brahma  Samaj  or  the  Arya 
Samaj ;  nor  have  the  Jains  had  noteworthy  leaders  like 
Ram  Mohan  Ray  or  Dayananda  Sarasvati.  Yet  for  the 
last  twenty  years  there  have  been  groups  of  young  men  who 
have  earnestly  worked  for  the  uplifting  of  the  community, 
and  there  has  been  one  Jain  leader  who  is  well  worthy  of 
mention  here. 

This  notable  man,  Rajchandra  Ravjibhai,3  was  a  Sthana- 
kavasi,  and  was  born  in  Morvi  State,  Kathiawar,  in  1868. 
He  received  no  English  education.  He  was  a  jeweller  in 
Bombay  for  some  eight  or  nine  years  and  died  in  1900. 

1  Digambar  Jain,  Kartik,  1969,  p.  33. 

2  Jain  Gazette,  May,  1911,  pp.  74-75. 

3  See  his  portrait,  Plate  XI,  facing  page  376. 


328     MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN    INDIA 

He  was  a  gifted  man  and  a  poet,  and  so  is  usually  called 
Raj chandra  Kavi :  "  Kavi  "  means  poet.  A  good  deal 
of  his  influence  was  due  to  his  extraordinary  memory  which 
enabled  him  to  attend  to  one  hundred  things  at  once.  He 
was  a  reformer,  and  yet  more  of  an  idealist  than  a  reformer. 
Although  a  Sthanakavasi,  he  was  so  eager  to  see  the  three 
sects  united  that  he  used  to  say  there  was  no  harm  in  wor 
shipping  in  a  Svetambara  temple.  He  declared  that 
neither  murti  (idol)  nor  mumati  (mouth-cloth *)  led  to  moksa 
(release)  but  a  good  life.  He  held  that  the  moral  ideal 
underlying  the  legends  was  the  great  thing,  not  the  legends 
themselves.  He  thus  sought  to  weaken  the  religious  sanc 
tion  of  old  customs  rather  than  to  produce  any  immediate 
and  radical  change  in  conduct.  The  following  quotation 
gives  his  attitude  towards  reform  : 

His  views  on  the  social  and  political  questions  of  the  day  were 
liberal.  He  said  that  there  ought  not  to  be  anything  like  caste 
distinctions  amongst  the  Jains,  as  those  who  were  Jains  were  all 
ordered  to  lead  a  similar  life.  Among  all  the  agencies  for  reform, 
he  assigned  the  highest  place  to  the  religious  reformer,  working 
with  the  purest  of  motives  and  without  ostentation.  He  found 
fault  with  the  religious  teachers  of  the  present  day,  because 
they  preached  sectarianism,  did  not  realise  the  change  of  the 
times,  and  often  forgot  their  real  sphere  in  the  desire  to  proclaim 
themselves  as  avatars  (incarnations)  of  God,  and  arrogated  to 
themselves  powers  which  they  did  not  possess.  In  his  later 
years,  it  was  clear  that  he  was  preparing  to  fulfil  his  life's  mission 
in  that  capacity.  But  unfortunately  death  intervened  and  the 
mission  remained  unfulfilled.2 

As  a  result  of  English  education  and  the  influence  of  such 
advanced  men  as  Kavi,  there  is  a  common  leaven  working 
throughout  the  Jain  community,  and  especially  among  the 

1  The  mouth-cloth  is  worn  by  Jain  ascetics,  lest  they  should  inadver 
tently  swallow  an  insect. 

2  Pioneer,  22nd  May,  1901. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       329 

educated  men.  This  new  spirit  manifests  itself  in  various 
ways,  first  of  all,  in  sectarian  conferences. 

3.  The  Digambara  sect  were  first  in  the  field.  They 
held  their  first  annual  Conference  about  1893.  A  year  or 
eighteen  months  later,  as  a  result  of  the  work  of  the  Con 
ference,  a  group  of  the  younger  men  belonging  to  all  the 
three  sects  organized  themselves  as  the  Jain  Young  Men's 
Association.  Then  in  1903  the  Svetambara  sect  began  to 
hold  a  Conference;  and  the  Sthanakavasls  followed  in 
1906.  These  three  sectarian  conferences  have  proved  on 
the  whole  the  most  successful  of  all  the  efforts  made  during 
this  period ;  but  a  good  deal  has  also  been  done  by  local 
groups  unconnected  with  any  conference;  and  it  is  prob 
able  that  in  the  future  still  greater  things  will  be  accom 
plished  by  those  who  are  seeking  to  unite  the  three  sects 
in  one. 

The  aims  which  these  organizations  have  in  view  are,  in 
the  main,  to  unite,  strengthen  and  build  up  the  community, 
so  that  individuals  may  not  drift  away  from  it,  and  to 
introduce  such  education  and  fresh  life  as  will  adapt  the 
Jains  to  modern  conditions.  All  parties  seem  to  recognize 
that  these  great  ends  cannot  be  achieved  unless  their  reli 
gious  teachers,  whether  sadhus  (celibate  ascetics)  or  priests, 
receive  a  good  modern  education,  so  as  to  enable  them  to 
lead  the  community  in  the  difficult  circumstances  of  to-day, 
and  to  meet,  on  the  one  hand,  the  assaults  of  materialism, 
and,  on  the  other,  the  criticism  of  the  Arya  Samaj  and  of 
Christianity.  Jains  want  their  sadhus  to  become  edu 
cated,  capable,  modern  men  like  missionaries.  All  realize 
also  that  it  is  of  the  utmost  importance  that  the  boys  and 
girls  of  the  community  should  receive  not  only  a  modern 
education,  but  such  religious  and  moral  training  as  shall 
make  them  good  Jains.  There  is  also  a  clear  realization 
that  the  old  religion  must  be  uplifted ;  but  as  to  how  this  is 


330     MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN    INDIA 

to  be  done  there  is  no  unanimity.  The  policy  advocated 
by  the  educated  young  men  is  a  good  deal  different  from 
that  favoured  by  conservatives,  whether  sadhus,  priests 
or  laymen. 

The  chief  methods  employed  by  the  various  organizations 
are  (a)  institutions  for  giving  a  religious  education  to  the 
sadhus  and  priests,  (b)  hostels  for  students,  in  which  each 
student  is  required  to  study  Jain  books  and  live  a  Jain  life, 
(c)  newspapers  in  the  vernaculars  and  in  English,  (d)  the 
publication  of  literature,  both  the  ancient  sacred  texts  and 
modern  books,  and  (e)  the  introduction  of  religious  and 
social  reform.  We  had  better  now  look  at  the  leading 
organizations  in  turn. 

4.  The  All-India  Digambara  Jain  Conference,  Bharatvar- 
shlya  Digambara  Jain  Mahasabha,  the  office  of  which  is  at 
Khurai,  C.P.,  was  founded  about  1893.     It  has  proved  a 
very  useful  organization;    yet  it  has  had  its  difficulties. 
At  the  annual  gathering  at  Muzaffarnagar  in  1911  there 
was  a  tremendous  dispute,  which  ended  in  a  suspension 
of  the  Conference.      Later  on  peace  was  made.      It  has 
succeeded  in  creating  several  valuable  institutions,  nota 
bly  the  Syadvada   Mahavidyalaya  at  Benares,  in  which 
the  priests  of  the  sect  receive  something   of  a   modern 
training,  an  orphanage  in  Delhi,  a  number  of  Hostels  in 
various  parts  of  the  country,  and  a  Widows'  Home  in 
Bombay.     The  Digambaras  support  a  number  of  news 
papers,  the  Digambara  Jain,  a  monthly  magazine,  published 
in  Surat,  and  containing  articles  in  several  languages,  the 
Hindi  Jain  Gazette,  the  Jain  Mitra,  and  a  woman's  paper 
called  the  Jain  Ndrl  Hitkarl. 

5.  The  Svetambaras  met  for  the  first  time  in  Conference 
at  Marwar  in  1903,  and  they  have  met  seven  times  since 
then.     The  Conference  has  an  office  in  Bombay,  and  issues 
a  paper,  the  Conference  Herald.     Books  for  the  moral  and 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       331 

religious  training  of  Jains  in  school  and  college  are  being 
produced  in  five  grades.  Hostels  for  students  have  been 
organized  in  several  places,  and  a  training  college  for  sadhus 
at  Benares,  the  Yasovijaya  Jain  Pathsala,  in  which  they 
receive  an  English  education  and  a  training  in  the  sacred 
books.  The  Conference  has  also  undertaken  to  index  the 
books  in  the  Treasure-houses,  i.e.  libraries,  at  Cambay, 
Jessalmir,  Patan,  and  elsewhere.  This  work  is  attended 
with  considerable  difficulty,  owing  to  the  Jain  habit  of 
concealing  their  sacred  books. 

One  of  the  chief  points  of  Jain  devotion  is  the  building  of 
temples.  These  are  not  erected  to  meet  the  needs  of  the 
population,  but  as  works  of  piety.  Consequently,  there  are 
vast  numbers  of  Jain  temples,  quite  out  of  proportion  to 
the  number  of  Jains.  The  Conference  sees  to  the  restora 
tion  and  repair  of  the  most  important  of  these. 

Like  Hindus,  the  Svetambara  Jains  have  discovered  that 
a  large  amount  of  the  income  of  their  temples  is  misused,  and 
various  plans  are  being  tried  by  the  Conference  to  rectify 
the  matter.  At  Palitana  and  Junagadh  Committees  have 
been  formed  to  supervise  the  disbursement  of  these  monies. 

There  is  a  desire  among  certain  laymen  to  lessen  the 
prominence  given  to  idol-worship.  Two  well-known  men 
ventured  to  publish  something  on  this  subject  about  five 
years  ago,  but  the  result  was  a  storm  of  opposition,  which 
has  not  yet  died  down. 

Laymen  are  also  rather  eager  to  lessen  the  power  of  the 
sadhus  in  the  Conference,  because  they  are  uneducated 
and  reactionary.  This  too  has  led  to  quarrelling. 

Svetambara  laymen  are  doing  a  good  deal  of  useful  work 
apart  from  the  Conference.  They  issue  four  or  five  monthly 
papers,  and  one  vernacular  fortnightly,  the  Jain  Sdsana, 
published  at  Benares.  They  also  are  doing  what  they  can 
in  the  way  of  bringing  out  versions  of  their  Scriptures,  and 


332     MODERN   RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN   INDIA 

revising  and  correcting  them.  Rich  merchants  provide 
the  necessary  funds.  They  depend  a  good  deal  on  English 
and  German  scholars  for  the  work  of  editing  and  translat 
ing  these  texts. 

6.  The  Sthanakavasis  met  first  in  Conference  in  1906. 
The  office  of  Conference  is  at  Ajmere,  and  their  paper  is 
called  Conference  Prakdsh.  The  subjects  discussed  at  the 
Conferences  fall  under  the  following  heads,  education 
(boarding  schools,  religious  education  for  boys  and  girls, 
orphanages,  a  training  college  for  teachers),  libraries, 
publication  of  sacred  texts  and  a  proposed  union  of  all 
Jains.  Though  idolatry  is  the  subject  on  which  this  sect 
feels  most  keenly,  it  is  never  mentioned  in  Conference, 
because  there  are  always  members  of  the  other  sects  present 
whom  they  do  not  wish  to  offend.  Many  feel  also  the  need 
of  dealing  with  caste,  but  they  do  not  venture  to  raise  the 
question.  Certain  other  aspects  of  social  reform  are, 
however,  eagerly  pressed.  A  Jain  history  from  the  Sthan- 
akavasi  point  of  view  is  being  prepared.  The  Conference 
sends  out  itinerant  preachers  to  acquaint  the  people  with 
the  decisions  of  Conference  and  to  collect  fourpence  from 
every  house  towards  the  expenses  of  the  annual  gathering 
and  the  preaching  scheme. 

Outside  the  Conference,  small  groups  of  Sthanakavasis 
are  doing  useful  work.  In  many  towns  and  large  villages 
libraries  are  being  founded.  They  are  meant  specially  for 
Jain  books,  but  secular  works  are  also  admitted.  Local 
Jain  societies  establish  hostels  for  Jain  boys,  and  arrange 
for  religious  teaching  to  be  given  an  hour  before  the  ordi 
nary  schools  meet.  A  monthly  paper,  the  Jain  HitecM, 
is  supported ;  and  another  is  being  started.  The  objects 
sought  by  these  papers  are,  to  remove  the  superstitions  and 
increase  the  knowledge  of  the  people,  and  to  insist  on  a 
higher  standard  of  training  for  sadhus. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       333 

7.  But  the  more  advanced  men  are  by  no  means  satis 
fied  with  what  is  being  done  in  the  Conferences  belonging 
to  the  three  sects.  They  feel  that  the  three  groups  must 
become  united,  if  the  community  is  to  survive,  and  that 
there  is  far  greater  need  for  reform  and  modernization 
than  the  average  Jain  realizes.  The  following  quotations 
will  show  what  these  leaders  think  : 

Obviously  our  orthodox  people  are  very  anxious  about  our 
religion ;  and  could  they  grasp  the  situation,  we  should  not  be 
far  from  a  satisfactory  solution  of  the  crucial  problem  of  Jain 
progress.  The  failure  of  the  orthodox  is  due  to  one  cause. 
They  are  attempting  the  hopeless  task  of  transforming  the 
twentieth  century  into  the  days  of  Shri  Mahaveer.  They  would 
forget  the  history  of  twenty-six  centuries.  By  founding  Path- 
ashalas  of  the  primeval  type,  they  would  think  of  producing  our 
Akalanks  and  Nikalanks.  What  is  the  result  ?  They  hardly 
attract  any  intelligent  boys  to  these  antiquated  seminaries  and 
after  years  of  arduous  toiling,  they  find  themselves  as  far  from 
their  ideal  as  ever  before.  The  experience  is  discouraging  not 
only  to  the  orthodox  but  to  every  one  who  cherishes  the  sublime 
hope  of  vivifying  Jain  ideals. 

What  is  the  remedy  ?  To  my  mind  it  consists  in  modernis 
ing  the  institutions  where  we  have  to  train  up  typical  Jain 
spirituality  through  the  ages  to  come.  That  is  not  done  by 
the  absurd  insertion  of  a  few  readers  or  book-keeping  in  the 
curriculum  of  our  Pathashalas.  The  aim  of  these  nurseries  of 
Jain  lives  ought  to  be  to  associate  the  best  in  the  discoveries  of 
the  West  with  the  highest  in  the  lore  of  the  past.  They  should 
be  Colleges  in  which  the  Jain  boys  would  imbibe  Jain  principles 
in  their  best  form  and  yet  would  become  able  to  hold  their  own 
against  the  literary  and  scientific  savants  of  the  west.  Such  should 
be  the  place  from  which  Jain  types  would  be  evolved  —  types  that 
shall  not  be  at  a  disadvantage  in  any  walk  of  life  and  shall  yet 
live  up  to  Jain  ideals.  That  would  be  the  Aligarh  of  the  Jains.1 

Like  certain  Muhammadan  leaders  whom  we  have  men 
tioned  above,2  these  men  think  it  necessary  to  lay  stress  on 

1  Diganibar  tern,  Kartik,  1969,  pp.  33-34-  2  P-  98. 


334     MODERN    RELIGIOUS    MOVEMENTS    IN    INDIA 

the  spirit  of  Jainism,  rather  than  on  the  literal  observance 
of  all  the  old  rules.  Here  is  an  attempt  to  state  what  the 
spirit  of  Jainism  is : 

Well,  then,  what  is  the  Light  left  in  our  custody  by  Lord 
Mahavira?  .  .  .  Briefly  characterised  the  Light  teaches  us 

(1)  Spiritual  independence  which  connotes  individual  freedom 
and  unlimited  responsibility.     The  soul  depends  upon  none 
else  for  its  progress,  and  none  else  is  responsible  for  the  degrada 
tion  and  distress  which  the  soul  may  be  affected  with.  .  .  . 

(2)  It  teaches  us  the  essential  universality  of  the  Brotherhood 
of  not  only  all  men  but  of  all  that  lives.     The  current  of  life  in 
the  lowest  living  organism  is  as  sacred,  subtle,  sensitive,  mighty 
and  eternal  as  in  Juliet,  Cleopatra,  Caesar,  Alexander,  Christ, 
Mahomet,  and  Lord  Mahavira  himself.     This  is  the  undying 
basis  of  our  fraternity  for  all.1 

This  advanced  group  became  organized  in  1894  or  1895 
as  the  Jain  Young  Men's  Association.  It  is  now  called 
the  Bharata  Jaina  Mahamandala,  or  All-India  Jain  Associa 
tion.  Its  office  is  in  Lucknow,  and  it  is  governed  by  its 
Officers  and  a  Managing  Committee.  The  chief  officer  is 
the  General  Secretary,  but  he  is  assisted  by  three  Joint 
Secretaries,  one  from  each  of  the  three  sects.  The  objects 
of  the  Association  are : 

(a)  The  union  and  progress  of  the  Jaina  community. 

(b)  The  propagation  of  Jainism. 

The  Association  holds  an  anniversary,  usually  about 
Christmas.  There  are  also  provincial  and  local  organiza 
tions  affiliated  to  the  main  body.  Special  men  are  told  off 
to  do  departmental  work  of  several  types,  one  of  the  most 
prominent  being  female  education.  The  Association  issues 
a  monthly  magazine  in  English,  the  Jain  Gazette. 

1  Digambar  Jain,  Kartik,  1969,"??-  26-27. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       335 

The  Association  has  been  peculiarly  active  during  the 
last  three  years.  The  energy  of  Mr.  J.  L.  Jaini,  Barrister- 
at-Law,  has  proved  of  very  great  value  to  it  in  various 
directions.  In  1910  the  International  Jain  Literature 
Society  was  founded  in  London.  All  the  leading  Jains  in 
Europe  and  all  the  chief  European  Jain  scholars  have  be 
come  members.  They  propose  to  edit  and  publish  Jain 
literature.  In  1911  the  Rishabha  Brahmacharya  Asrama 
was  founded  at  Meerut  for  the  training  of  sadhus.  The 
same  year  a  branch  of  the  Jain  Literature  Society  was 
formed  in  India ;  and  the  Central  Jain  Library  was  founded 
at  Arrah  in  Behar,  for  the  purpose  of  collecting  books  and 
manuscripts,  and  cataloguing  Jain  literature.  The  Library 
issues  a  monthly  magazine  in  Hindi,  which  is  named  the 
Jaina  Siddhanta  Bhdskara,  and  is  published  in  Calcutta. 
Finally,  as  these  words  are  being  written,  August  24, 
1913,  the  Mahavlra  Brotherhood  is  being  founded  in 
London,  for  the  purpose  of  uniting  Jains  resident  in  Europe 
and  helping  them  to  live  the  Jain  life. 

It  may  be  well  to  notice  that  books  in  English  are  being 
published  by  Jains  to  introduce  Jainism  to  Europeans. 
Of  these  we  may  mention  an  Introduction  to  Jainism,  by 
A.  B.  Latthe,1  M.A.,  Jainism  in  Western  Garb,  as  a  Solution 
to  Life's  Great  Problems?  by  Herbert  Warren,  an  English 
man  who  has  become  a  Jain,  and  a  third  volume  by  Mr. 
J.  L.  Jaini,  which  is  about  to  be  issued  by  the  Jain  Literary 
Society. 

Modern  Indian  religious  movements  find  very  close 
parallels  among  the  Buddhists  of  Burma  and  Ceylon; 
but  my  knowledge  of  the  religion  and  of  the  local  condi 
tions  is  too  scanty  to  enable  me  to  sketch  the  religious 
situation  in  those  lands  with  accuracy. 

1  Bombay,  Natha  Rangaji,  1905.     »  Madras,  Thompson  &  Co,  1912,  is. 


336     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

9.  THE  SIKHS 

i.  Nanak  (1469-1538),  the  founder  of  the  Sikh  sect,  was 
a  disciple  of  the  famous .  teacher  Kabir.  Except  in  two 
matters,  his  system  is  practically  identical  with  that  of 
many  other  Vaishnava  sects.  It  is  a  theism,  and  the  main 
teaching  of  the  founder  is  highly  spiritual  in  character. 
Yet  the  whole  Hindu  pantheon  is  retained.  The  doctrine 
of  transmigration  and  karma  and  the  Indian  social  system 
remain  unaltered.  The  guru  holds  the  great  place  which 
he  has  in  all  the  later  Vaishnava  and  Saiva  systems.  He  is 
not  only  a  teacher  but  a  saviour,  and  receives  worship. 
The  two  points  on  which  Kabir  and  Nanak  were  unlike 
earlier  teachers  were  these :  they  condemned  the  whole 
doctrine  of  divine  incarnations ;  and  they  never  ceased  to 
protest  against  idolatry,  thus  preventing  their  followers 
from  using  Hindu  temples.  On  one  other  point  the  two 
men  seem  to  have  been  agreed:  they  did  not  wish  their 
followers  to  become  ascetics,  but  advised  them  to  go  on 
with  their  ordinary  avocations. 

Since  the  guru  held  such  a  great  place  in  Nanak's  teaching, 
it  was  necessary  to  appoint  another  man  to  succeed  him  at 
his  death.  Nine  gurus  were  thus  appointed,  one  after  the 
other ;  and  the  series  would  have  gone  on  indefinitely,  had 
it  not  been  for  a  momentous  change  introduced  by  the  tenth 
guru.  Nanak  had  left  behind  him  a  liturgy  for  the  sect 
called  the  Japji,  and  also  a  considerable  body  of  religious 
poetry.  In  this  matter  he  was  like  many  of  the  teachers  of 
North  India  who  lived  before  him.  These  poems  were 
carefully  treasured  by  the  Sikhs ;  the  second  guru  invented 
the  PanjabI  alphabet,  called  Gurumukhl,  as  the  script  for 
them;  and  the  fifth  guru  gathered  them  together  and 
made  a  book  of  them,  including  also  a  large  number  of 
pieces  from  Kabir  and  fifteen  other  saints.  This  volume 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS   337 

is  called  the  Adi  Granth,  or  "  Original  Book."  The  tenth 
guru  added  a  great  deal  of  fresh  material ;  and  the  result  is 
the  Granth  Sahib,  or  Noble  Book  of  the  Sikhs.  Before  he 
died,  this  guru  told  the  Sikhs  that  they  must  not  appoint 
another  guru,  but  must  take  the  Granth  for  their  guru. 
Since  that  time  this  sacred  book  has  been  the  centre  and  the 
inspiration  of  the  sect. 

But  Govind  Singh,  the  tenth  guru,  introduced  another 
change  of  still  greater  importance.  At  the  time  when  he 
was  Sikh  leader,  at  the  end  of  the  seventeenth  and  the 
beginning  of  the  eighteenth  century,  Aurangzeb,  the  last 
great  Mughal  Emperor,  was  pressing  the  sect  very  hard. 
He  did  all  in  his  power,  by  means  of  persecution  and  admin 
istrative  pressure,  to  turn  them  into  Muslims.  Govind 
Singh  had  the  genius  to  perceive  how  the  Sikhs  could  be 
organized  so  as  to  be  able  to  resist  the  Mughals.  He 
formed  all  those  who  were  willing  to  enter  into  a  covenant 
with  him  into  what  he  called  the  Khalsa.  The  ceremony  of 
initiation,  Khanda-di-Pdhul,  Baptism  of  the  Sword,  gave 
it  a  religious  character.  Within  this  league  Caste  disap 
peared,  and  each  man  became  a  warrior,  vowed  to  fight 
for  his  faith  to  the  death,  and  to  regard  every  other  member 
of  the  league  as  a  brother.  They  called  themselves  "Lions," 
each  adding  the  word  Singh  to  his  name.  The  result  was 
an  army  of  heroes  as  unconquerable  as  Cromwell's  Iron 
sides.  Certain  definite  customs  were  laid  upon  them, 
which  marked  them  off  from  other  men,  and  increased  the 
feeling  of  brotherhood  among  them.  Infanticide,  widow- 
burning  and  pilgrimage  were  prohibited.  Wine  and  tobacco 
were  proscribed.  The  consequences  were  two.  The 
Khalsa  became  strong  to  resist  the  Mughals,  but  their 
organization  cut  them  off  from  their  fellow-countrymen, 
and  made  them  practically  a  new  caste. 

The  transformation  of  the  Church  into  an  army  produced 


338     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

another  evil  result;  living  preaching  ceased  among  the 
Sikhs,  and  their  religious  life  began  to  go  down.  Hin 
duism  began  to  reappear  among  them.  Though  their 
founder  had  condemned  the  doctrine  of  incarnations,  they 
soon  came  to  regard  each  of  their  ten  gurus  as  an  incarna 
tion  of  the  Supreme ;  and,  in  spite  of  his  advice,  orders  of 
ascetics  began  to  appear  among  them. 

The  recognition  of  the  Granth  Sahib  as  the  guru  of  the 
community  has  also  proved  unhealthy.  The  book  is  wor 
shipped  like  an  idol  in  the  Golden  Temple  at  Amritsar: 
a  priest  fans  it,  while  the  people  throw  offerings  of  flowers 
to  it,  and  bow  down  before  it.  At  night  it  is  put  to  bed, 
to  be  waked  in  the  morning  for  another  day  of  worship. 
In  a  Sikh  monastery  in  Conjeeveram,  I  was  shown  the  altar 
where  fire-sacrifice  is  regularly  performed  to  the  Granth. 
Nor  is  the  rule  against  pilgrimage  kept.  Here  and  there 
one  meets  groups  of  Sikh  ascetics  on  pilgrimage,  visiting 
all  the  chief  Hindu  temples.  When  asked  how  they,  as 
Sikhs,  opposed  to  all  idolatry,  go  to  idolatrous  temples, 
they  answer  that  they  go  to  look  at  the  idols,  not  to  worship 
them.  This  is  surely  as  clear  a  case  of  the  fascination  of 
idols  as  one  could  wish  to  have. 

After  the  fall  of  the  Mughal  Empire,  the  Sikhs  became 
organized  in  two  small  democratic  republics,  called  Taran 
Dal  and  Budha  Dal.  Then  these  subdivided  into  twelve 
missils,  or  petty  states.  Finally,  Ranjit  Singh  united 
them  all,  and  became  the  king  of  the  Pan  jab.  He  ruled 
from  1800  to  1839.  To  their  religious  memories  and 
warlike  pride  there  was  thus  added  the  consciousness  of 
nationality. 

2.  Ranjit  Singh  had  been  statesman  enough  to  keep 
the  peace  with  the  British,  who  already  held  all  the  terri 
tory  to  the  east  of  the  Panjab ;  but  he  was  not  long  dead 
before  the  Sikh  leaders,  in  the  pride  of  their  old  military 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS        339 

prowess,  began  to  make  raids  on  British  territory.  This 
the  British  would  not  endure.  War  followed  in  1845,  and 
the  Sikhs  were  defeated ;  but  even  that  was  not  sufficient. 
They  would  not  keep  the  peace.  Hence  a  second  war, 
in  1848-1849,  resulted  in  the  annexation  of  the  Panjab  to 
British  India. 

The  province  was  singularly  fortunate  in  the  British 
officers  sent  to  administer  it.  John  Lawrence,  Eadwardes, 
Nicholson,  Montgomery,  Reynell  Taylor  were  men  of 
striking  character,  of  great  capacity  and  of  Christian  life. 
Hence  the  Panjab  remained  quite  loyal  throughout  the 
Mutiny  in  1857-1858 ;  and  the  Sikhs  have  been  one  of  the 
stoutest  and  most  valuable  elements  in  the  Indian  army 
ever  since  the  annexation  of  the  province. 

3.  Fresh  religious  influences  came  in  with  the  empire. 
Christian  missionaries  entered  the  province  in  1849,  and 
since  then  have  spread  all  over  it;    the  Brahma  Samaj 
appeared  in  Lahore  in  1863 ;    the  Arya  Samaj   began  its 
aggressive  and  stormy  career  in  1877 ;   and  since  1898  the 
atheistic  Deva  Samaj  has  made  its  influence  felt  not  only 
in  Lahore  city  but  in  some  of  the  country  districts. 

4.  The  Sikh  community,  for  various  reasons,  has  tended 
to  become  weak  and  impoverished.    The  following  para 
graphs  are  from  their  own  paper : 

They  are  poorer  than  their  Hindu  or  Moslem  brothers. 
They  borrow  money  from  the  village  Sahukars  or  money 
lenders,  to  carry  on  their  agricultural  occupation,  under  very 
hard  and  exacting  terms.  All  grain  in  excess  of  their  bare  neces 
sities  is  snatched  from  them  by  some  device  or  another.  'A 
person  who  has  to  be  anxious  for  his  livelihood  cannot  aspire  to 
be  wealthy'  goes  the  Punjabi  saying.  Sikh  peasantry  could, 
therefore,  hardly  support  their  children  for  higher  education. 
There  are  very  few  Sikh  merchants  and  traders,  and  Sikh  bank 
ing  and  trading  companies  hardly  exist.  This  general  state  of 
poverty  prevailing  among  them  is  the  greatest  hindrance  in  their 


340     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

way  to  progress  and  prosperity.  Calamities,  such  as  famine, 
locusts,  plague,  war,  etc.,  have  added  to  their  burdens  and  anxi 
eties  and  rendered  the  condition  of  the  Sikhs  indescribably 
wretched. 

We  have  often  been  drawing  the  attention  of  our  leaders  to 
the  comparatively  backward  state  of  education,  and  daily  de 
creasing  number  of  the  Sikh  young  men  who  receive  instruction 
in  the  public  and  private  schools  of  the  Punjab. 

With  the  decline  of  spiritual  religion  among  them, 
there  has  come  to  them  what  has  come  to  every  other  re 
formed  Hindu  sect,  an  overpowering  tendency  to  drift 
back  into  ordinary  Hinduism.  Hatred  of  Muhammadans 
is  traditional  amongst  them,  and  quite  strong  enough  to 
influence  conduct.  The  Hindu  community  is  big  and  in 
fluential  ;  and  Hindu  worship  is  showy  and  attractive,  and 
appeals  to  the  feelings,  while  Sikh  worship  is  exceedingly 
simple.  There  are  only  four  places  of  worship  of  any 
size  belonging  to  the  sect  in  the  whole  of  the  Panjab.  For  a 
long  time  very  little  was  done  to  strengthen  the  Sikhs  in 
their  religion.  The  chiefs  tended  to  become  cold.  The 
Gydms,  or  learned  men,  who  knew  the  Granth  and  inter 
preted  it,  had  lost  a  great  deal  of  their  fervour  and  learning. 
The  drift  towards  Hinduism  thus  became  almost  irresist 
ible.  Idols  found  their  way  not  only  into  the  homes  of  the 
people  but  into  the  Sikh  temples.  Caste  crept  back,  and 
all  the  evils  of  Hindu  social  life.  Education  was  not  in 
creasing  among  them. 

5.  But  the  new  forces  set  in  motion  by  the  British  Govern 
ment,  Christian  Missions  and  the  Samajes  at  last  began  to 
tell  upon  the  Sikhs.  Above  all,  the  provocative  attacks  of 
Dayananda  and  the  Arya  Samaj  stirred  them  to  fury. 
About  1890  a  body  of  reformers  arose  amongst  them,  and 
summoned  their  leaders  to  action  for  the  revival  of  Sikhism 
and  the  uplifting  of  the  community.  A  college  for  Sikhs 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       341 

called  the  Khalsa  College  was  founded  at  Amritsar.  A 
central  association  called  the  Chief  Khalsa  Dlwan,  with  its 
office  at  Amritsar,  was  created;  and  local  associations, 
called  Singh  Sabhas,  were  formed  all  over  the  country  for 
the  strengthening  and  purification  of  Sikh  life.  An  agita 
tion  was  started  in  favour  of  the  extension  of  education 
and  of  social  reform. 

Considerable  results  have  already  arisen  from  this 
reforming  policy.  A  weekly  paper  in  English,  the  Khalsa 
Advocate  was  started  in  1903,  and  still  continues  to  express 
the  views  of  the  progressives.  In  1869  the  Government 
of  India  commissioned  a  ^German  missionary,  Dr.  Ernest 
Trumpp,  to  translate  the  Adi  Granth  into  English,  in  order 
that  they  might  understand  their  Sikh  subjects  better; 
and  the  volume  was  published  in  1877.  Trumpp  found 
the  work  exceedingly  difficult  for  various  reasons,  and 
acknowledged  that  his  translation  must  be  imperfect  in 
many  particulars.  When  Western  education  spread  among 
the  Sikhs,  they  became  very  dissatisfied  with  his  work; 
and  in  1893  they  asked  Mr.  A.  M.  Macauliffe,  a  member  of 
of  the  Indian  Civil  Service,  to  make  a  new  translation  for 
them.  Mr.  Macauliffe,  who  was  deeply  impressed  with 
the  value  of  the  Sikh  religion,  agreed  to  do  so.  He  worked 
in  the  closest  possible  collaboration  with  the  Sikh  Gyanis, 
and  published  his  work  in  six  volumes  in  1910. 

By  1905  the  reforming  spirit  had  gone  so  far  that  the 
Sikh  leaders  found  it  possible  to  cast  out  the  Hindu  idols 
which  had  found  their  way  into  the  central  place  of  Sikh 
worship,  the  Golden  Temple  at  Amritsar.  By  word  and 
action  they  have  shewn  that  they  wish  to  revive  the  spirit 
of  their  military  organizer,  the  tenth  guru.  They  want  to 
reincarnate  the  courage,  the  freedom  and  the  independence 
of  these  days.  They  wish  to  be  truly  Sikhs.  They  realize 
that  they  must  resist  Hinduism  as  well  as  the  Arya  Samaj, 


342     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

if  they  are  to  escape  from  caste  and  the  other  social  evils 
of  the  Hindu  system. 

The  chief  lines  of  reform  which  are  being  pressed  by 
the  leaders  are  the  same  as  those  advocated  by  Hindu 
social  reformers.  They  protest  against  caste  and  child- 
marriage  ;  they  plead  that  widows  ought  to  be  allowed  to 
remarry,  if  they  choose  to  do  so :  they  agitate  against 
expensive  weddings;  they  plead  for  temperance;  and  a 
good  deal  of  progress  has  been  made.  They  have  a  Widows' 
Home  with  thirty  inmates  at  Amritsar ;  also  Orphanages ; 
and  attempts  are  made  to  help  the  Depressed  Classes. 

It  is  in  education  that  the  Sikhs  have  made  most 
progress.  The  Khalsa  College  in  Amritsar  is  under  a  Euro 
pean  Principal  and  is  carefully  governed  by  a  representa 
tive  Committee.  It  has  done  good  service  to  the  com 
munity.  The  latest  available  report,  that  for  1911-1912, 
gives  the  number  of  students  as  159.  Everything  seems 
satisfactory  except  the  religious  instruction.  There  is  a 
large  hostel  in  connection  with  the  college,  and  another 
in  Lahore.  In  addition  to  the  college,  the  community 
supports  46  boys'  schools,  High,  Middle  and  Primary. 

There  is  a  large  and  very  successful  Boarding  School  for 
Girls  at  Ferozepore.  It  has  305  pupils,  273  of  them 
boarders.  There  are  32  other  girls'  schools. 

Two  Theological  Seminaries,  one  at  Tarn  Tarn  and  an 
other  at  Gujranwala,  receive  grants  from  the  Chief  Khalsa 
Dlwan. 

For  many  years  Sikh  educational  institutions  languished 
for  lack  of  financial  support.  In  1908  the  leaders  started  a 
Sikh  Educational  Conference,  which  meets  annually,  now 
in  one  town,  now  in  another.  It  reviews  the  educational 
situation,  suggests  improvements,  and  keeps  Government 
informed  of  its  wishes ;  but  the  chief  service  it  renders  to 
the  community  is  the  raising  of  funds.  About  Rs.  15,000 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       343 

are  now  handed  to  the  Chief  Khalsa  Dlwan  every  year  to 
be  divided  amongst  their  educational  institutions. 

The  Chief  Khalsa  Dlwan  also  publishes  a  fair  amount  of 
literature,  mainly  in  Panjabi,  but  partly  in  English,  setting 
forth  the  lives  of  the  gurus  and  the  Sikh  faith  in  its  early 
purity.  It  has  a  Tract  Society  with  a  depot  for  the 
sale  of  this  literature  in  Amritsar,  and  another  in  Lahore. 
There  is  a  Sikh  Bank.  There  is  a  Young  Men's  Sikh 
Association  in  Lahore  and  a  Khalsa  Young  Men's  Associa 
tion  in  Amritsar,  imitations  of  the  Y.  M.  C.  A. ;  and  a 
young  men's  paper,  The  Khalsa  Young  Men's  Magazine,  is 
published.  Finally  the  Chief  Khalsa  Dlwan  has  some 
twelve  or  fifteen  missionaries  in  the  Punjab,  and  about  as 
many  more  in  other  parts  of  India,  who  preach  to  Sikhs 
and  others. 

Fresh  life  is  stirring  in  the  Sikh  community,  and  the 
activities  we  have  detailed  all  tend  towards  progress.  Yet 
a  very  great  deal  remains  to  be  done.  The  chief  question 
of  all  is,  Can  the  Sikh  faith  be  made  a  living  and  inspiring 
force  in  the  circumstances  of  modern  India  or  not  ? 

LITERATURE.  —  The  Adi  Granth,  by  Dr.  Ernest  Trumpp,  Lon 
don,  Triibner,  1877,  635.  The  Sikh  Religion,  a  translation  of  the 
Granth,  with  lives  of  the  Gurus,  by  M.  A.  Macauliffe,  Oxford  Uni 
versity  Press,  1912,  63$.  net.  Sri  Guru  Nanak  Dev,  by  Sewaram 
Singh  Thapar,  Rawalpindi,  Commercial  Union  Press,  1904,  Re. 
i  as.  4.  Sikhism,  A  Universal  Religion,  by  Rup  Singh,  Amritsar, 
Coronation  Printing  Works.  Bhai  Mahnga  or  the  Search  after  Truth, 
Amritsar,  The  Chief  Khalsa  Diwan,  1911. 

10.  THE  PARSEES 

i.  There  were  certain  parts  of  the  programme  of  the 
R^mmnjdJIa^^  1  and  of  the  teaching  of 

Mr.  K.  R.  Cama2  which  many  Parsees  thought  rather 

1  See  above,  p.  84.  2  See  above,  p.  85. 


344     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

dangerous.  They  were  afraid  that  the  removal  of  certain 
parts  of  the  traditional  system  as  superstitions,  the  laying 
of  extreme  emphasis  on  the  Gathas  and  on  the  moral  ele 
ments  of  Zoroastrianism,  and  the  proposal  to  pray  in 
Gujaratl  instead  of  in  the  ancient  sacred  language  of  the 
Avesta,  would  weaken  the  religion  itself  and  shatter  the 
faith  of  the  masses. 

One  of  the  leaders  of  this  party  in  early  days  was  Mr. 
Hormusji  Cama  (a  member  of  the  same  family  to  which 
Mr.  K.  R.  Cama  belonged),  who  in  Europe  in  the  sixties 
came  into  contact  with  the  best  Zoroastrian  scholars  and 
published,  at  his  own  expense  for  gratuitous  distribution, 
Professor  Bleeck's  English  rendering  of  Professor  Spiegel's 
German  translation  of  the  Avesta.  A  society,  the  Rahe 
Rust,  or  True  Way,  was  organized  to  oppose  the  reformers ; 
and  a  journal,  the  Suryodaya,  or  Sunrise,  carried  on  vigorous 
controversy  with  the  Rast  Goftar  l  on  all  the  chief  points  of 
dispute.  Mr.  Hormusji  Cama  was  the  conservative  pro 
tagonist  in  this  long-continued  fight. 

2.  When  the  Theosophical  Society  transferred  its  head 
quarters  to  India  in  1879^  a  number  of  this  type  of  Parsees 
joined  it,  and  in  the  course  of  years  the  new  system  got  a 
firm  hold.  The  Theosophic  policy  in  Zoroastrianism  was 
the  same  as  in  Hinduism,  —  full  defence  of  the  whole 
religion.  The  crudest  and  most  superstitious  observances 
were  allegorically  explained  as  expressions  of  the  highest 
spiritual  wisdom : 

They  preach  to  the  less  educated  classes  of  people  that  there 
is  high  efficacy  in  offering  flowers  and  milk  and  cocoanuts  to 
the  waters ;  they  preach  to  the  people  as  an  act  of  special  reli 
gious  merit  to  fall  prostrate  before  and  kiss  imaginary  pictures 
of  their  prophet ;  they  exhort  people  to  make  a  show  of  penitence 
by  a  vigorous  slapping  of  cheeks.  They  represent  to  the  people 

1  See  above,  p.  84.  2  See  above,  p.  226. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       345 

that  the  sole  efficacy  of  their  prayers  consist  in  the  material 
form  resultant  upon  the  physical  vibrations  created  by  their 
utterances.1 

As  in  Hinduism,  so  here,  the  mounting  spirit  of  national 
ism  and  community-feeling  coalesced  with  the  impulse  to 
defend  the  whole  of  the  traditional  faith ;  and  there  arose 
the  cry:  "Everything  Zoroastrian  is  good;  everything 
Western  is  bad;  we  must  defend  ourselves  against  the 
pestilential  materialism  of  Europe."  Behind  this  bulwark 
of  patriotic  communal  feeling  all  the  conservative  elements 
of  the  Parsee  race  ranged  themselves;  and  the  tide  of 
nationalism  swept  for  a  time  the  mass  of  the  young  edu 
cated  men  into  the  party,  and  carried  away  even  a  few  of 
the  older  members  of  the  reforming  group. 

Gradually  this  party  began  to  pose  as  the  expounders  of 
orthodox  Zoroastrianism.  The  original  message  of  the 
prophet,  they  asserted,  was  identical  with  the  Ancient 
Wisdom,  and  included  pantheism,  the  practice  of  yoga, 
and  the  doctrine  of  reincarnation  and  karma.  They 
flouted  the  scientific  methods  of  exegesis  pursued  by 
scholarly  Parsees,  and  endeavoured  to  defend  superstitious 
and  even  idolatrous  practices  in  the  light  of  Theosophy. 
They  stood  by  Mrs.  Besant  when  she  brought  Mr.  Lead- 
beater  back  into  the  Theosophical  Society  in  January  igog.2 
A  clear  expression  of  the  position  of  this  group  of  Parsees 
will  be  found  in  The  Message  of  Zoroaster,  by  A.  S.  N.  Wadia, 
published  by  Dent. 

It  was  this  group  that  caused  the  violent  scenes  that 
marred  the  first  and  second  Zoroastrian  Conferences.3 
After  that  Conference,  they  separated  themselves  from  the 
reformers;  and,  in  consequence,  the  Parsee  community 
has  been  rent  into  two  parties. 

1  Journal  of  the  Iranian  Association,  March,  1913,  p.  247. 

2  See  above,  p.  273.  3  See  above,  p.  89. 


346     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

This  conservative  group  works  mostly  through  the 
Zoroastrian  Association,  an  old  organization  which  has 
fallen  into  their  hands.  They  are  toiling  eagerly  for  the 
amelioration  of  the  community.  They  are  doing  good  work 
by  erecting  houses  for  the  poorer  classes ;  and  they  have 
started  a  Census  to  discover  how  much  poverty  there  is 
in  the  community.  The  paper  which  represents  their 
position  is  The  Jami  Jamshed. 

3.  A  Zoroastrian  propaganda  has  arisen  in  America. 
The  name  used  for  the  system  is  Mazdaznan.  The  founder, 
who  calls  himself  His  Humbleness  Zar-Adusht  Hannish,  is 
said  to  be  a  man  of  German  and  Russian  parentage,  whose 
real  name  is  Otto  Hannisch.  He  called  himself  a  Persian, 
and  said  he  had  come  from  Tibet  (like  Madame  Blavat- 
sky  and  M.  Nicolai  Notovitch),  where  he  had  penetrated 
the  deepest  secrets  of  the  Dalai  Lama.1  His  teaching  is  a 
mixture  of  Zoroastrian,  Hindu,  Buddhist,  Christian  and 
Muslim  elements.  The  side  most  emphasized  in  America 
seems  to  be  the  effect  of  breathing  and  other  exercises  on 
health.  They  celebrate  the  birth  of  Jesus  on  the  23rd  of 
May.  Mazdaznan  Temples  have  been  erected  in  a  few 
places.  In  the  Boston  temple  there  is  a  brilliant  representa 
tion  of  the  sun.  Perhaps  the  following  may  serve  as  a 
sample  of  Mazdaznan  teaching  : 

As  an  introductory  step  Mazdaznan  offers  the  formula  of 
"Assurance,  or  Ahura's  Prayer,"  which  when  uttered  on  the 
breath,  assures  oxygenation  and  purification  of  the  blood, 
increased  circulation  and  rhythmic  heart  action. 

ASSURANCE,  OR  AHURA'S  PRAYER 

Our  Father  who  art  in  Peace, 
Intoned  be  Thy  name ; 
Thy  realm  arise ; 

1P.  27,  above. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       347 

Thy  will  incarnate  upon  the  earth  as  in  heaven. 

This  day  impart  Thy  Word 

And  remember  not  our  offenses 

That  we  may  forgive  those  who  offend  us. 

Thru  temptation  guide  us 

And  from  error  deliver  us.    Be  it  so. 

The  movement  seems  to  have  a  few  adherents  in  India. 

ii.  THE  MUHAMMAD ANS 

The  rise  of  the  spirit  which  finds  expression  in  the  Hindu 
movements  we  have  dealt  with  above  led  to  similar  activity 
among  Muhammadans.  Many  observers  agree  in  saying 
that  most  educated  Muslims  are  turning  away  from  the 
rationalism  of  Sir  Syed  Ahmad  Khan 1  to  orthodoxy. 

i.  In  1885  there  was  founded  in  the  city  of  Lahore  the 
Anjuman-i-Himayet-i-Islam,  i.e.  the  Society  for  the  De 
fence  of  Islam;  and  since  that  date  branch  associations 
have  been  formed  in  many  towns  throughout  India.  The 
objects  of  the  Association  are  set  forth  as  follows  in  a 
prospectus  of  the  society : 

I.  (a)  Rationally  and  intelligently  to  answer,  through  verbal 
discussion  or  in  writing,  any  accusations  advanced 
against  Islam,  and  to  further  its  propagation. 

(b)  To  impart  suitable  and  necessary  education  to  Muslim 

boys  and  girls,  and  save  them  from  abjuring  their 
own  true  faith. 

(c)  To  take  upon  itself  the  maintenance  and  education,  to  the 

best  of  its  ability,  of  Muhammadan  orphans,  and  to 
render  all  possible  educational  aid  to  poor  Muslim 
boys  and  girls,  so  as  to  save  them  from  falling  into 
the  hands  of  the  followers  of  other  religions. 

1  P.  99,  above. 


348     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

(d)  To  improve  the  social,  moral  and  intellectual  condition 

of  the  Muslim  community  and  initiate  measures  con 
ducive  to  the  creation  and  preservation  of  friendly 
feelings  and  concord  between  the  different  sects  of 
Islam. 

(e)  To  bring  home  to  the  Muhammadans  the  advantages  of 

loyalty  to  the  British  Government. 

II.  For  the  realisation  of  its  objects,  the  Anjuman  shall  appoint 
preachers,  issue  a  monthly  magazine,  establish  educa 
tional  institutions  and  orphanages,  and  make  use  of  other 
necessary  means. 

Several  accounts  of  the  working  of  the  parent  Association 
in  Lahore  have  been  placed  in  my  hands,  which  give  informa 
tion  about  its  educational  activities.  The  purpose,  clearly, 
is  to  give  Muslims  a  good  modern  education,  and,  along 
with  it,  religious  instruction  of  a  more  orthodox  type  than 
is  given  in  Aligarh  institutions.  They  are  eager  to  increase 
female  education,  and  have  nine  girls'  schools  in  Lahore. 
They  have  two  very  large  boys'  schools  in  the  same  city, 
and  also  an  Arts  College,  called  the  Islamia  College,  with 
200  pupils  on  the  rolls  and  a  European  Principal.  Islamic 
Theology  is  taught  daily  in  each  of  the  classes.  Attached 
to  the  College  is  the  Rivaz  Hostel  with  131  boarders.  There 
is  then  the  Hamidia  School  with  27  pupils,  an  academy 
for  advanced  Arabic  scholarship.  They  have  also  an 
Orphanage  in  the  city  in  which  some  simple  industrial 
training  is  given.  Of  the  educational  efforts  of  the 
associations  in  other  towns  I  have  failed  to  get  reports. 

Nor  have  my  Muslim  correspondents  told  me  anything 
about  the  other  activities  of  the  Anjuman.  I  am  therefore 
driven  to  give  here  the  experience  of  missionaries : 

The  methods  of  defence  adopted  by  this  great  organisation 
have  been,  in  brief,  the  establishment  of  Muhammadan  vernac 
ular  and  Anglo-vernacular  schools  for  the  education  of  Muslim 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD  RELIGIONS       349 

youth,  the  publication  of  a  literature,  books,  tracts  and  news 
papers,  for  the  refutation  of  anti-Muslim  publications  as  well  as 
for  the  commendation  and  propagation  of  the  religion  of  Islam. 
In  addition  to  this  a  Muslim  propaganda  has  been  organized, 
especially  to  withstand  and  hinder  the  work  of  missions.  Even 
Zenana  teachers  are  supported,  whose  first  duty  is  to  break  up, 
if  possible,  the  missionary  Zenana  and  Girls'  Schools.  Pressure 
is  brought  to  bear  upon  Muslim  parents  and  families  to  exclude 
the  Christian  ladies  and  workers.  Moreover,  preachers  are 
supported  and  sent  here  and  there  to  preach  against  the  Chris 
tian  religion  and  to  use  every  effort  to  bring  back  to  the  Muslim 
fold  any  who  have  been  converted  to  Christianity.  Christian 
perverts  are  sent  out  as  the  chosen  agents  of  this  propaganda. 
The  results  of  the  labours  of  the  Anjuman-i-Himayat-ul- 
Islam  are  apparent  in  a  revival  of  interest  among  Muslims  in 
their  own  religion.  The  Mosques  have  been  repaired  and 
efforts  have  not  been  fruitless  in  securing  a  better  attendance. 
The  boycott  inaugurated  against  missionary  work  has  reduced 
the  attendance  of  Muslims  at  the  chapels  and  schools,  and  has  no 
doubt  closed  many  doors  once  open  to  Christian  teaching.1 

Clearly  this  organization  is  a  Muslim  parallel  to  the  Bharata 
Dharma  Mahamandala,  though  it  has  not  gained  so  much 
publicity. 

2.  In  recent  years  the  chief  efforts  made  by  Muslims  in 
defence  of  their  religion  have  had  as  their  object  the  pro 
duction  of  preachers,  teachers  and  missionaries  of  a  more 
modern  type.  They  wish  them  to  be  cultured  men,  fit  to 
lead  and  teach  those  who  have  had  an  English  education ; 
and  they  wish  them  to  be  well-trained  theologians,  able  to 
defend  Islam  against  Christian,  Arya  and  Hindu  criticism, 
and  to  carry  the  war  into  the  enemy's  territory. 

In  1894  a  Defence  Association  was  formed,  the  Nadwat- 
ul-Ulama,  or  Society  of  Muslim  Theologians,  which  has 
its  central  office  in  Lucknow.  The  principal  objects  of  the 
Association  are  stated  as  follows : 

1  Madras  Decennial  Miss.  Conf.  Rep.,  334.' 


350     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

(1)  The  advancement  and  reform  of  education  in  Arabic 
Schools. 

(2)  The  suppression  of  religious  quarrels. 

(3)  Social  reform. 

(4)  The  pursuit  of  the  general  welfare  of  Mussulmans  and 
the  spread  of  Islam. 

The  methods  which  this  society  employ  for  the  defence 
and  strengthening  of  Islam  are  five : 

(1)  Most  of  their  money  and  activity  has  been  spent  in 
founding  and  maintaining  in  Lucknow  a  divinity  school  of 
a  new  type  meant  to  provide  a  more  enlightened  education 
for  the  Muhammadan  clergy.     It  is  called  the  Dar-ul-ulum 
(i.e.   School  of  Theology)   of  the  Nadwat-ul-Ulama  and 
dates  from  1898.     They  wish  to  establish  such  institutions 
elsewhere.     A  branch  has  already  been  opened  at  Shahja- 
hanpur,  and  another  in  Madras.     The  young  men  undergo 
a  very  serious  training,  lasting  at  least  eight  years,  in  all 
branches  of  Muhammadan  theology ;  and  in  addition  they 
are  taught  English,  Geography  and  Mathematics.     They 
receive   no   training   in   Christianity   or   Hinduism.     The 
curriculum  as  a  whole  is  a  great  advance  on  the  old  educa 
tion.     There  are  about  100  students  at  present ;  but  much 
larger  numbers  are  expected  in  future.     A  great  building 
is  being  erected  for  the  Seminary  on  the  north  bank  of 
the  Goomti  River. 

(2)  Missionaries  are  sent  out  to  preach. 

(3)  An  Urdu  monthly  magazine,  En  Nadwa,  is  published, 
in  which  attempts  are  made  to  reconcile  Muslim  thought 
with  modern  science  and  thought. 

(4)  There  is  an  orphanage  in  Cawnpore. 

(5)  An  Annual  Conference  is  held. 

Under  another  society  a  theological  seminary,  the 
Madrasa-i-Ildhiydt,  has  been  organized  in  Cawnpore.  I 
understand  it  owes  its  existence  mainly  to  a  desire  to 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD   RELIGIONS       351 

repel  the  attacks  of  the  Arya  Samaj,  several  Muslims, 
including  one  Moulvie  at  least,  having  gone  over  to  Hin 
duism  under  Arya  influence.  The  aims  of  the  institution 
are  two : 

a.  To  protect  Islam  from  external  attacks. 

b.  To  send  missionaries  to  preach  Islam  among  Non- 
Muslims,  and  ignorant  Muslims. 

Six  subjects  are  taught,  the  Koran,  Islamic  theology  and 
philosophy,  the  defence  of  Islam,  Christianity,  Western 
science,  and  Sanskrit.  There  are  seven  students  at  present. 
None  of  them  know  English ;  but  I  was  told  that  some  of 
the  missionaries  already  sent  out  do  know  English.  A 
printing  press  is  attached  to  the  school ;  and  a  series  of 
tracts  has  already  been  published  against  the  Arya  Samaj. 

A  third  seminary  recently  founded  is  the  Anjuman-i- 
Naumania,  which  is  carried  on  in  the  Shahi  Mosque,  Lahore. 
The  Secretary  writes,  "Ours  is  a  purely  religious  school 
teaching  Arabic  literature  and  sciences  through  the  medium 
of  our  vernacular."  From  another  source  I  learn  that  the 
institution  receives  considerable  financial  help  from  Mus 
lims  who  have  had  a  university  education. 

Fourthly,  a  learned  Muhammadan,  named  Hakim  Ajmal 
Haziq-ul-Mulk,  who  is  a  doctor  and  resides  in  Delhi,  has 
the  idea  of  combining  Orthodox  Muhammadanism  with 
Western  culture.  He  has  already  trained  four  graduates  of 
Aligarh  as  Moulvies. 

The  most  important  and  most  orthodox  of  all  Muslim 
seminaries  in  India  is  the  Dar-ul-ulum,  or  School  of  Theol 
ogy,  at  Deoband,  near  Saharanpur.  It  has  about  500 
students.  All  Muslims  acknowledge  that  it  is  very  old- 
fashioned.  Yet  even  here  the  pressure  of  modern  times 
is  being  felt:  an  English  class  has  recently  been  opened, 
and  attempts  are  being  made  to  reform  the  divinity  course 
in  several  directions. 


352     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

In  Jubbulpore  there  is  a  little  group  of  Muslims  who  have 
had  an  English  education  and  are  very  eager  to  defend 
their  religion.  They  told  me  that  they  had  already  started 
a  High  School  in  the  town,  the  purpose  of  which  is  to  pre 
serve  and  to  spread  Muhammadanism.  They  have  also 
opened  a  little  school  on  the  same  lines  as  the  seminary  in 
Lucknow.  It  is  as  yet  but  a  little  venture  ;  but  they  hope 
to  raise  the  standard  and  train  young  men  to  know  the 
Koran  thoroughly,  and  also  to  deal  with  men  of  other  reli 
gions. 

An  All-India  Muslim  Students'  Brotherhood  with  its 
headquarters  at  Aligarh  has  just  been  formed. 

Finally,  there  is  a  Muhammadan  Book  and  Tract  Depot 
in  Lahore,  where  a  large  variety  of  volumes,  both  in  Urdu 
and  English,  are  offered  for  sale.  Any  English  work  which 
can  be  used  apologetically,  e.g.  Carlyle's  Hero  as  Prophet,  is 
published  and  sold  cheap. 

3.  The  movements  already  dealt  with  are  all  among 
Sunnis ;  but  the  Shiahs  are  also  active.  They  hold  an  annual 
Conference  1  which  is  meant  mainly  to  rouse  their  commu 
nity  on  the  subject  of  education  and  to  find  money  for  its 
extension.  I  am  told  also  that  there  is  at  present  a  great 
upward  movement  of  the  Feringhi  Mahal  School.  Their 
work  is  mostly  literary.  They  translate  English  works 
into  Urdu.  They  are  approaching  far  more  than  formerly 
the  philosophy  of  the  West. 

12.  SECTARIAN  UNIVERSITIES 

The  most  successful  of  the  educational  efforts  yet  made 
for  the  defence  and  strengthening  of  Hinduism  has  been  the 
Central  Hindu  College,  Benares,  founded  by  Hindus  under 
the  leadership  of  Mrs.  Besant  and  the  Theosophical  Society. 

i  ISR.,  XX,  234. 


FULL  DEFENCE  OF  THE  OLD   RELIGIONS       353 

It  is  strong,  efficient,  successful,  and  it  actually  teaches 
Hinduism.  Hence  a  desire  has  arisen  to  take  the  further 
forward  step  of  creating  a  Hindu  University  which  should 
arrange  curricula,  hold  examinations  and  confer  degrees. 
In  this  way,  not  the  actual  work  of  teaching  only,  but  the 
aims  of  education,  the  subjects  taught  and  the  standards 
demanded  would  be  under  Hindu  control.  Naturally  the 
Muhammadan  community  at  once  followed  suit  and  pro 
posed  a  Muslim  University.  Both  parties  began  the  collec 
tion  of  funds. 

These  proposals  are  so  contrary  to  the  spirit  of  University 
culture  and  so  likely  to  stand  in  the  way  of  every  movement 
for  the  increasing  of  friendliness  and  harmony  amongst  the 
various  religious  communities  of  India  that  it  seems  certain 
that  the  Government  of  India  would  have  vetoed  them 
absolutely,  had  there  not  been  something  (all  unknown  to 
the  public)  to  hinder  their  action.  They  have,  however, 
definitely  decided  that,  if  such  Universities  are  set  up,  they 
shall  be  local  teaching  Universities,  and  not  territorial 
organizations  like  the  existing  Universities.  This  obviates 
the  most  serious  dangers.  Meantime  Mrs.  Besant  has 
fallen  from  her  high  place  in  Benares ; 1  and  the  proposals 
for  the  present  seem  to  hang  fire. 

1  P.  276,  above. 


2  A 


CHAPTER  V 
RELIGIOUS  NATIONALISM 

1895-1913 

IN  this  last  section  of  our  period  a  frightful  portent  flamed 
up  in  India,  anarchism  and  murder  inspired  by  religion. 
But,  fortunately,  there  seems  to  be  good  reason  for  believ 
ing  that  the  outbreak  of  violence  will  prove  a  lurid  episode 
in  a  time  of  great  and  better  things.  Facts  seem  to  justify 
our  marking  off  these  years  sharply  from  the  preceding; 
for  new  ideals  and  passions  which  are  visible  in  their  best 
literature  and  noblest  activity  as  well  as  in  anarchism  dis 
tinguish  it  clearly  from  earlier  times.  Yet  there  is  a  certain 
continuity :  the  new  spirit  is  a  further  stage  of  the  move 
ment  which  began  a  century  ago,  a  further  unfolding  of 
what  has  been  latent  in  the  Awakening  from  the  beginning. 
The  notes  of  what  we  tentatively  call  Religious  Nationalism 
seem  to  be  as  follows : 

A.  Independence.  A  distinct  advance  in  thought  and 
action  made  itself  manifest  about  1870.  Young  India 
began  to  think  of  political  influence  and  to  defend  the 
ancient  religious  heritage.  Yet  there  was  a  sort  of  half- 
dependence  on  the  ideals  and  the  thought  of  others,  which 
gives  the  time  an  appearance  of  unripeness.  In  this  new 
era  we  have  the  assertion  of  the  full  independence  of  the 
Indian  mind.  The  educated  Indian  now  regards  himself 
as  a  full-grown  man,  the  equal  in  every  respect  of  the  cul 
tured  European,  not  to  be  set  aside  as  an  Asiatic,  or  as  a 
member  of  a  dark  race.  He  claims  the  right  of  thinking 
his  own  thoughts ;  and  he  is  quite  prepared  to  burn  what 

354 


RELIGIOUS  NATIONALISM  355 

he  has  hitherto  adored  and  to  create  a  new  heaven  and  a 
new  earth.  This  adult  self-confidence  was  immeasurably 
strengthened  by  the  victory  of  Japan  over  Russia.  Every 
Asiatic  felt  himself  recreated  by  that  great  event.  To  all 
Asiatic  lands  it  was  a  crisis  in  race-history,  the  moment 
when  the  age-old  flood  of  European  aggression  was  turned 
back.  The  exultation  which  every  Indian  felt  over  the 
victory  lifted  the  national  spirit  to  its  height  and  gave  a 
new  note  of  strength  to  the  period. 

B.  A  new  nationalism.  The  patriotism  of  to-day  makes  *> 
the  feeling  which  inspired  the  Congress  seem  a  very  blood-  (, 
less  thing  indeed.  Men  now  live  at  fever-heat,  carried  , 
beyond  themselves  by  a  new  overmastering  devotion  to  the 
good  of  India.  But  there  is  clear  sight  as  well  as  passion. 
The  new  nationalism  is  much  more  serious  and  open-eyed 
than  the  thin  old  politicalism.  It  is  burdened,  tortured, 
driven  forward  by  the  conviction  that  the  whole  national 
life  needs  to  be  reinspired  and  reborn.  Full  proof  of  the 
depths  to  which  the  Indian  mind  has  been  stirred  may  be 
seen  in  this,  that  in  all  the  best  minds  the  new  feeling  and 
the  fresh  thought  are  fired  by  religion,  either  a  furious 
devotion  to  some  divinity  of  hate  and  blood,  or  a  self -con 
secration  to  God  and  India  which  promises  to  bear  good  fruit. 
Finally,  whether  in  anarchists  or  in  men  of  peace,  the  new 
nationalism  is  willing  to  serve  and  suffer.  The  deluded 
boys  who  believed  they  could  bring  in  India's  millennium  by 
murdering  a  few  white  men  were  quite  prepared  to  give 
their  lives  for  their  country ;  and  the  healthy  movements 
which  incarnate  the  new  spirit  at  its  best  spend  themselves 
in  unselfish  service. 

i.  ANARCHISM 

Before  we  attempt  to  describe  the  murderous  propaganda 
we  had  better  endeavour  to  realize  what  curdled  to  such 


356     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

bitterness  the  spirit  of  many  of  the  most  generous  young 
Indians  of  our  days.  What  were  the  causes  of  the  sudden 
storm  of  furious  hate  ? 

1.  The  fact  that  India  is  under  a  foreign  government.    The 
first  thought  of  the  man  filled  with  the  new  spirit  is  that 
this  is  utterly  wrong,  something  which  simply  ought  not  to 
be.     India  ought  to  be  guided  by  her  own  ideals  and  ruled 
by  her  own  men.     Her  present  rulers  loom  up  as  tyrannical 
aggressors,  thieves  of  the  nation's  rights,  ruthless  destroyers 
of  her  priceless  ancient  heritage. 

2.  The  race-hatred  and  race-contempt  of  Europeans.     lam 
not  one  of  those  who  believe  that  the  Englishman  behaves 
worse  in  his  imperial  position  than  other  nationalities  would 
do,  if  they  were  in  his  place.     Indeed,  I  am  inclined  to 
think  that,  in  comparison  with  others,  he  stands  fairly  high. 

I  Yet  the  fact  remains  that  there  is  a  percentage  of  Europeans 
iin  India  —  soldiers,  mechanics,  shop  assistants,  business 
men,  with  a  sprinkling  even  of  professional  men,  army 
officers,  and  civilians  —  who  continually  shew  contempt 
and  hatred  for  Indians  and  speak  of  them  as  an  inferior  race, 
'and  who  from  time  to  time  assault  Indian  servants  and 
subordinates,  and  treat  educated  Indians  with  the  grossest 
rudeness.  This  behaviour  of  a  small  minority  of  our  fellow- 
countrymen,  which  at  all  times  has  produced  very  serious 
results,  necessarily  stirred  the  fiercest  passions,  when 
national  feeling  and  Indian  self-respect  rose  to  flood-tide. 
We  must  also  frankly  acknowledge  that  every  piece  of 
self-complacent,  ill-informed,  unsympathetic  criticism  of 
Indian  religion,  society  and  life,  whether  written  by  tourist, 
missionary  or  official,  helped  to  inflame  the  sense  of  wrong 
and  to  embitter  the  resentment  which  the  imperial  position 
of  Britain  necessarily  creates. 

3.  Lord  Curzon.     Perhaps  no  man  was  ever  so  well  pre 
pared  for  the  viceroyalty  as  Lord  Curzon  was.     Certainly 


RELIGIOUS  NATIONALISM  357 

no  man  ever  toiled  harder  in  the  position,  or  worked  more 
disinterestedly  for  the  good  of  India.  His  insight  and  his 
unsparing  labour  are  already  producing  their  fruits  in  higher 
efficiency  in  education  and  many  other  departments  of 
Indian  life.  Yet  it  was  his  tragic  destiny  to  be  more 
furiously  detested  by  the  educated  Indian  than  any  other 
Englishman.  The  cause  lay  in  his  self-confident  and  arro 
gant  spirit  and  manner.  Twenty  years  earlier  they  would 
have  scarcely  provoked  comment;  but,  contemporaneous 
with  the  rise  of  the  Indian  mind  to  independence  and  na 
tional  dignity  and  with  the  emergence  of  Asia  from  her 
secular  slavery  to  Europe,  they  stung  India  to  fury  and 
worked  wild  ruin. 

4.  The  inner  antagonism    between  Hindu  and   Western 
culture.    When  the  modern  Indian  reached  self-conscious 
ness  and  self-confidence,  there  could  not  fail  to  come  a 
violent  reaction  from  the  attitude  of  reverence  for  the  West 
which  had  guided  his  scholar-footsteps.     Trained  to  think 
by  his  modern  education,  he  could  not  fail  to  turn  back  to 
the  ancient  culture  which  lived  in  him  and  make  the  most 
of  it.     The  period  of  training  had  been  too  repressive,  too 
fully  dominated  by  the  West.     The  reaction  was  bound  to 
come.     Thus  the  old  passionate  devotion  to  Hinduism 
flared  up  and  increased  the  passion  of  the  anarchist ;  and 
his  perception  of  the  inner  antagonism  between  Hindu  and 
Western  culture-ideals  at  once  justified  and  embittered  his 
hatred. 

5.  Exaggerated  praise  of  India  and  condemnation  of  the 
West.     This  more  than  anything  else  was  the  cause  of  the 
ruinous  folly  which  marked  so  much  of  the  teaching  and 
the  action  of  the  anarchists.    Dayananda,  the  Theosophists, 
Vivekananda,  Sister  Nivedita  and  all  that  followed  them 
talked  in  the  wildest  and  most  extravagant  way  in  praise  of 
Hinduism  and  Indian  civilization  and  in  condemnation  of 


358     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

Christianity  and  the  West;  so  that  they  actually  led  the 
average  educated  Hindu  to  believe  the  doctrine,  that  every 
thing  Indian  is  pure,  spiritual  and  lofty,  and  that  every 
thing  Western  is  materialistic,  sensual,  devilish.  I  do 
not  believe  that  these  leaders  had  any  sinister  political 
motive  for  this  policy.  Sir  Valentine  Chirol  is  inclined  to 
go  too  far  in  this  matter.  What  they  did  they  did  in  the 
hope  of  making  their  followers  devoted  and  enthusiastic 
Hindus,  and  of  rousing  them  to  toil  for  the  benefit  of  India. 
But  you  cannot  sow  the  wind  without  reaping  the  whirlwind. x 
If  it  be  true  that  Hinduism  and  Indian  civilization  are  purely 
spiritual  and  good,  and  that  Christianity  and  Western 
civilization  are  grossly  materialistic  and  corrupt,  then  the 
average  Hindu  was  quite  right  in  drawing  the  conclusion 
that  the  sooner  India  is  rid  of  Europeans  and  Western  influ 
ence  the  better :  we  are  already  on  the  very  verge  of  the 
doctrine  of  the  anarchists.  These  leaders  are  directly 
responsible  for  a  great  deal  of  the  wildest  teaching  of  the 
assassin  press.  It  is  not  merely  the  general  attitude  that 
is  common  to  the  revivalists  and  the  anarchists.  It  is  as 
clear  as  noonday  that  the  religious  aspect  of  anarchism  was 
merely  an  extension  of  that  revival  of  Hinduism  which  is 
the  work  of  Dayananda,  Ramakrishna,  Vivekananda  and 
the  Theosophists.  Further,  the  historical  is  almost  as  close 
as  the  logical  connection.  Dayananda  started  the  Anti- 
cow-killing  agitation  in  I882.1  The  movement  grew  until, 
in  1888,  it  had  reached  colossal  proportions;  and  in  1893 
Tilak  made  it  one  of  his  most  potent  tools.  Krishnavarma 
was  a  pupil  of  Dayananda ;  Lajpat  Rai  was  for  many  years 
one  of  the  chief  leaders  of  the  Arya  Samaj ;  and  Vivek- 
ananda's  brother  Bhupendra  was  one  of  the  most  influ 
ential  of  the  anarchist  journalists  of  Calcutta. 
The  history  of  Indian  anarchism  cannot  be  written  yet. 
1  P.  in,  above. 


RELIGIOUS  NATIONALISM  359 

The  most  salient  facts  may  be  found  in  Sir  Valentine 
Chirol's  Indian  Unrest ; l  but  every  careful  reader  of  that 
useful  volume  must  feel  very  distinctly  that  there  are  many 
facts  as  yet  unknown  which  are  needed  to  make  the  growth 
of  the  movement  intelligible.  We  mention  here  only  the 
names  of  the  leaders. 

So  far  as  can  be  seen  at  present,  Bal  Gangadhar  Tilak,  a 
member  of  the  sept  of  Brahmans  that  led  and  governed  the 
Marathas,  formed  the  earliest  centre  of  the  propaganda 
known  as  anarchism.  The  Anti-cow-killing  agitation 
already  referred  to  was  one  of  several  experiments  which  he 
tried  in  seeking  to  rouse  his  people  to  energetic  political 
action ;  but  in  1895  ne  organized  a  great  celebration  of  the 
birthday  of  Sivaji,  the  chieftain  who,  in  the  latter  half  of 
the  seventeenth  century,  made  the  Maratha  tribes  an  iron 
army  and  a  united  nation  to  resist  the  Muhammadans. 
This  widespread  commemoration  of  the  Maratha  leader  in 
1895  is  significant,  because  in  it  for  the  first  time  all  the 
features  of  the  Extremist  propaganda  stand  out  clear; 
and  there  is  unquestionable  proof  that  it  contained  the 
poison  of  anarchy;  for  within  two  years  it  worked  itself 
out  in  murder  in  the  streets  of  Poona.  For  this  reason  we 
take  1895  as  the  date  of  the  arrival  of  the  new  spirit  in 
Indian  history. 

Two  other  men  can  be  discerned  as  generators  of  the 
anarchical  spirit,  alongside  of  Tilak,  between  1900  and  1905. 
These  are  Syamaji  Krishnavarma  in  London  and  Bipin 
Chandra  Pal  in  Calcutta.  The  former,  who  had  been  a 
personal  friend  and  pupil  of  Dayananda,  lived  in  India 
House,  London,  edited  the  Indian  Sociologist,  and  filled 
many  a  young  Hindu  student  with  the  poison  of  hate  and 
murder.  Here  perhaps  was  the  chief  centre  of  the  cult  of 
the  bomb.  Bipin  Chandra  Pal  edited  a  journal,  called 

1  London,  Macmillan,  1910,  55.  net. 


- 


360     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

New  India,  the  settled  policy  of  which  was  to  publish  every 
tale  that  could  be  found  and  exaggerated  to  fill  the  Indian 
mind  with  the  bitterest  hatred  and  profoundest  contempt 
for  Europeans,  and  to  urge  Indians  to  train  themselves 
physically  to  be  able  to  fight  those  blackguards. 

The  following  paragraphs  by  the  Rev.  C^JF^Andrews  of 
Deiy  describe  very  faithfully  the  effect  of  the  Russo- 
Japanese  war  upon  India : 

At  the  close  of  the  year  1904  it  was  clear  to  those  who  were 
watching  the  political  horizon  that  great  changes  were  impending 
in  the  East.  Storm-clouds  had  been  gathering  thick  and  fast. 
The  air  was  full  of  electricity.  The  war  between  Russia  and 
Japan  had  kept  the  surrounding  peoples  on  the  tip-toe  of  expecta 
tion.  A  stir  of  excitement  passed  over  the  North  of  India. 
Even  the  remote  villagers  talked  over  the  victories  of  Japan  as 
they  sat  in  their  circles  and  passed  round  the  hugga  at  night. 
One  of  the  older  men  said  to  me,  "  There  has  been  nothing  like  it 
since  the  Mutiny."  A  Turkish  cousul  of  long  experience  in 
Western  Asia  told  me  that  in  the  interior  you  could  see  every 
where  the  most  ignorant  peasants  "tingling"  with  the  news. 
Asia  was  moved  from  one  end  to  the  other,  and  the  sleep  of  the 
centuries  was  finally  broken.  It  was  a  time  when  it  was  "good 
to  be  alive,"  for  a  new  chapter  was  being  written  in  the  book  of 
the  world's  history. 

My  own  work  at  Delhi  was  at  a  singular  point  of  vantage. 
It  was  a  meeting-point  of  Hindus  and  Musalmans,  where  their 
opinions  could  be  noted  and  recorded.  The  Aligarh  movement 
among  Muhammadans  was  close  at  hand,  and  I  was  in  touch 
with  it.  I  was  also  in  sympathy  with  Hindu  leaders  of  the 
modern  school  of  Indian  thought  and  shared  many  of  their  views. 
Each  party  spoke  freely  to  me  of  their  hopes  and  aims.  The 
Musalmans,  as  one  expected,  regarded  the  reverses  of  Russia 
chiefly  from  the  territorial  standpoint.  These  reverses  seemed 
to  mark  the  limit  of  the  expansion  of  the  Christian  nations  over 
the  world's  surface.  The  Hindus  regarded  more  the  inner 
significance  of  the  event.  The  old-time  glory  and  greatness  of 
Asia  seemed  destined  to  return.  The  material  aggrandisement 


RELIGIOUS  NATIONALISM  361 

of  the  European  races  at  the  expense  of  the  East  seemed  at  last 
to  be  checked.  The  whole  of  Buddhaland  from  Ceylon  to 
Japan  might  again  become  one  in  thought  and  life.  Hinduism 
might  once  more  bring  forth  its  old  treasures  of  spiritual  culture 
for  the  benefit  of  mankind.  Behind  these  dreams  and  visions 
was  the  one  exulting  hope  —  that  the  days  of  servitude  to  the 
West  were  over  and  the  day  of  independence  had  dawned. 
Much  had  gone  before  to  prepare  the  way  for  such  a  dawn  of 
hope :  the  Japanese  victories  made  it,  for  the  first  time,  shining 
and  radiant.1 

Now,  in  contrast  with  these  glowing  lights,  let  us  place 
some  of  Lord  Curzon's  acts  as  they  seemed  at  the  time  to 
educated  Indians.  He  gave  an  address  at  Calcutta  Uni 
versity  Convocation  in  which  he  suggested  to  a  listening 
nation  that  they  were  a  nation  of  liars.  He  created  and 
passed  a  Universities'  Act  which  was  meant  to  introduce  a 
number  of  much-needed  reforms  into  the  higher  education ; 
yet,  honestly  or  dishonestly,  almost  the  whole  native  press 
interpreted  it  as  meant  to  curtail  Western  education  among 
Indians,  and  thereby  to  weaken  their  influence  in  the  coun 
try.  Then  there  came,  in  1905,  the  Partition  of  Bengal. 
It  is  now  perfectly  clear  that  some  serious  change  in  the 
administration  of  the  province  was  urgently  required; 
and  there  seems  to  be  no  reason  to  doubt  that  Lord  Curzon 
believed  he  was  carrying  out  the  best  policy ;  but  he  paid 
but  little  attention  to  Bengali  feeling  and  opinion,  and  some 
of  the  speeches  which  he  delivered  in  a  tour  through  the 
province  were  provocative  in  the  last  degree.  In  any  case, 
his  action  infuriated  the  educated  classes  of  Bengal;  the 
whole  country  was  soon  rocking  in  sympathy  with  them; 
and  an  unscrupulous  propaganda  roused  the  wildest  passion, 
excited  the  students  beyond  measure  and  led  to  many 
riots. 

It  was  these  events  that  gave  the  Anarchist  party  their 

1  The  Renaissance  in  India,  4-5. 


362      MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

opportunity.  Immediately  a  new  type  of  journalism 
appeared  in  Calcutta.  The  chief  writers  were  Aravinda 
Ghose,  who  had  been  educated  in  England,  and  had  then 
spent  some  years  in  the  service  of  the  Gaekwar  of  Baroda, 
his  brother  Barendra,  Bipin  Chandra  Pal  and  Bhupendra 
Nath  Dutt,  a  brother  of  Svaml  Vivekananda;  while 
Tilak  and  his  followers  continued  the  campaign  in  the  West, 
and  Lala  Lajpat  Rai  and  some  other  Aryas  did  all  they  could 
to  rouse  the  Panjab.  A  long  series  of  murders  and  at 
tempted  murders  of  Europeans  and  Indians  was  the  direct 
result  of  this  writing  and  of  the  secret  plotting  of  men  who 
>are  not  yet  fully  known. 

Perhaps  the  most  amazing  fact  in  the  whole  sad  history  is 
this,  that  the  Moderate  party,  which  until  now  had  con 
trolled  the  National  Congress  and  had  led  the  educated 
community,  were  swept  off  their  feet  and  dragged  behind  the 
Anarchists,  almost  without  a  word  of  protest,  until  the 
Congress  met  at  Surat  in  1907 ;  when  the  two  parties  ac 
tually  came  to  blows,  and  the  gathering  had  to  be  broken 
up.  This  fact,  and  the  terrible  catalogue  of  murders  which 
was  steadily  lengthening  out,  at  last  convinced  the  Mod 
erates  that  they  must  dissociate  themselves  from  the 
teaching  of  the  Anarchist  party.  Then  the  tide  began  to 
turn.  Fewer  of  the  high-strung,  unselfish  students  fell 
into  the  toils  of  the  men  who  planned  the  murders.  In 
June,  1908,  Tilak  was  arrested  and  sent  to  prison  for  six 
years  for  seditious  writing.  Lord  Morley,  who  was  Secre 
tary  of  State  for  India,  and  the  Viceroy,  Lord  Minto,  had 
the  new  Councils  Act  passed  in  1909,  which  proved  that 
Britain  is  really  anxious  to  go  forward  and  give  educated 
India  a  gradually  increasing  share  in  the  government  of  the 
Empire.  The  King's  visit  touched  the  hearts  of  the  people 
I  of  India  as  nothing  has  done  for  many  years ;  and  the  re- 
\arrangement  of  the  two  Bengals  helped  to  heal  old  wounds. 


RELIGIOUS  NATIONALISM  363 

The  results  have  been  priceless.    There  is  now  a  clear  per 
ception  of  the  fact  that  Indians  must  cooperate  with  the 
British  Government  in  order  to  bring  in  the  better  day  for 
India.     Things  look  distinctly  promising.1 
The  following  are  the  chief  notes  of  Anarchist  teaching : 

1.  Indian    civilization   in    all   its   branches,  —  religion, 
education,  art,  industry,  home  life  and  government,  —  is 
healthy,  spiritual,  beautiful  and  good.     It  has  become  cor 
rupted  in  the  course  of  the  centuries,  but  that  is  largely  the 
result  of  the  cruelty  and  aggression  of  the  Muhammadans 
in  former  times  and  now  of  the  British.     The  Indian  patriot 
must  toil  to  restore  Indian  life  and  civilization. 

2.  Western  civilization  in  all  its  parts,  —  religion,  educa 
tion,  art,  business  and  government,  —  is  gross,  materialistic 
and  therefore  degrading  to  India.    The  patriotic  Indian 
must  recognize  the  grave  danger  lurking  in  every  element 
of  Western  influence,  must  hate  it,  and  must  be  on  his 
guard  against  it. 

The  inevitable  result  of  this  has  been  race-hatred  such 
as  has  never  been  seen  in  India  before.  The  Anarchist 
press  was  rilled  with  the  uttermost  hate  and  bitterness. 

3.  India  ought  to  be  made  truly  Indian.     There  is  no 
place  for  Europeans  in  the  country.     Indians  can  manage 
everything  far  better  than  Europeans  can.     The  British 
Government,  Missions,  European  trade  and  Western  influ 
ence  of   every  kind,  are  altogether  unhealthy  in  India. 
Everything  should  belong  to  the  Indians  themselves. 

4.  Hence  it  is  a  religious  duty  to  get  rid  of  the  European 
and  all  the  evils  that  attend  him.    The  better  a  man  under 
stands  his  religion,  the  more  clear  will  be  his  perception  that 
Europeans  and  European  influence  must  be  rooted  out. 
All  means  for  the  attainment  of  this  end  are  justifiable.    As 

1  Since  these  words  were  put  in  type,  the  war  has  come,  and  Tilak  and 
Lajpat  Rai  are  loyally  helping  the  Government. 


364     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

Krishna  killed  Kamsa,  so  the  modern  Indian  must  kill  the 
European  demons  that  are  tyrannically  holding  India  down. 
The  blood-thirsty  goddess  Kail  ought  to  be  much  honoured 
by  the  Indian  patriot.  Even  the  Glta  was  used  to  teach 
murder.  Lies,  deceit,  murder,  everything,  it  was  argued, 
may  be  rightly  used.  How  far  the  leaders  really  believed 
this  teaching  no  man  can  say;  but  the  younger  men  got 
filled  with  it,  and  many  were  only  too  sincere. 

5.  The  whole  propaganda  was  marked  by  a  complete 
disregard  of  historical  truth.  The  most  frightful  distor 
tions  of  past  events,  and  the  foulest  slanders  both  of  the 
Government  and  of  individual  Europeans  went  the  round  of 
the  press,  and  did  their  poisonous  work. 

LITERATURE.  —  The  New  Spirit,  by  Bepin  Chandra  Pal,  Calcutta, 
Sinha,  Sarvadhicari  &  Co.,  1907,  Rs.  i  as.  4.  Life  of  AravindaGhosha, 
by  Rama  Chandra  Palita,  Calcutta,  the  author,  1911,  Rs.  i  as.  8. 
Indian  Unrest,  by  Sir  Valentine  Chirol,  London,  Macmillan,  1910, 
55.  net. 

Anarchism  flung  itself  against  the  British  Government 
and  fell  back  broken.  The  whole  movement  was  a  piti 
ful  piece  of  waste,  —  waste  of  energy,  patriotic  feeling, 
literary  skill  and  human  life.  One  cannot  look  back 
upon  it  without  a  very  heavy  heart,  as  one  thinks  of  all  the 
dignity  and  worth  of  the  character  and  feeling  which  were 
perverted  and  flung  away.  But  the  same  high  love  for 
India  and  will  to  be  spent  for  her  sake  have  found  healthy 
channels  for  themselves  along  various  lines.  In  all  these 
movements  the  main  notes  of  the  period  ring  out  very  dis 
tinctly  :  the  end  in  view  in  each  case  is  the  national  ad 
vancement;  the  religious  sanction  is  always  in  the  back 
ground,  even  if  it  is  not  distinctly  expressed ;  the  work  is 
of  the  nature  of  unselfish  service ;  and  high  passion  inspires 
the  whole.  We  subdivide  the  movements  into  four  groups, 
industrial,  social,  artistic  and  poetic. 


RELIGIOUS  NATIONALISM  365 

2.  INDUSTRY,  SCIENCE,  ECONOMICS 

The  Swadeshi  Movement  (svadett  =  belonging  to  one's 
own  country),  an  agitation  for  the  strengthening  of  Indian 
industries,  arose  in  Bengal  in  Lord  Curzon's  viceroy alty 
under  the  stimulus  of  national  excitement.  Indians  were 
urged  to  buy  goods  of  Indian  design  and  manufacture; 
articles  and  books  were  published,  exhibiting  the  vast  natu 
ral  resources  of  India,  the  abundance  of  cheap  labour  avail 
able,  and  shewing  how  much  India  loses  through  importing 
what  might  quite  well  be  made  in  the  country.  The 
movement  was  later  contaminated  by  an  organized  Boycott 
of  British  goods,  which  was  accompanied  by  much  violence 
and  social  tyranny,  disturbed  business  for  a  while,  and  em 
bittered  relations  between  the  races,  but  entirely  failed  to 
divert  the  natural  course  of  trade.  The  legitimate  move 
ment,  however,  has  been  distinctly  useful.  The  educated 
classes  began  to  think  of  economic  questions,  and  every 
Indian  industry  was  encouraged  and  quickened.  Under 
the  same  impulse  a  society  was  formed  in  Calcutta  for  the 
purpose  of  sending  young  men  to  Europe,  America  or  Japan 
to  receive  industrial  or  scientific  education.  When  these 
students  began  to  return  from  study,  a  supply  of  trained 
workers  became  available  for  the  furthering  of  native  in 
dustries.  Between  1905  and  1907  a  considerable  number  of 
new  manufacturing  and  trading  companies  were  formed  in 
various  parts  of  India,  but  above  all  in  Bengal.  Cotton, 
jute,  leather,  soap,  glass  and  other  manufactures  were  at 
tempted.  There  was  at  least  one  steam  navigation  com 
pany.  Several  Banks  and  Insurance  Companies  arose. 
All  have  not  proved  successful  by  any  means  from  the 
business  point  of  view ;  indeed,  in  the  end  of  1913,  a  number 
of  Indian  banks  collapsed ;  but  experience  has  been  gained ; 
and  in  a  number  of  cases  considerable  progress  has  been 
achieved. 


366     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

There  has  also  been  an  increase  in  the  number  of  students 
reading  science,  agriculture  and  economics  at  the  Univer 
sities;  and  several  Indians  have  written  wisely  and  well 
on  economic  questions. 

3.  SOCIAL  AND  POLITICAL  SERVICE 
a.  Help  for  the  Depressed  Classes 

One  sixth  of  the  whole  population  of  India,  a  vast  mass 
of  humanity  outnumbering  all  the  people  of  England,  Scot 
land,  Ireland  and  Wales,  have  for  some  two  thousand  years 
been  held  down  by  Hindus  at  the  bottom  of  society,  in 
indescribable  ignorance,  dirt  and  degradation,  on  the  ground 
that  they  are  so  foul  as  to  be  unfit  for  ordinary  human 
intercourse.  According  to  the  orthodox  theory,  every  man 
born  among  these  people  is  a  soul  which  in  former  lives 
lived  so  viciously  that  his  present  degradation  is  the  just 
punishment  for  his  former  sin.  They  are  called  Outcastes, 
Untouchables,  Panchamas,  or  the  Depressed  Classes. 
What  sort  of  a  national  danger  this  mass  of  crushed  human 
ity  is  to  India,  every  student  of  sociology  and  politics  will 
readily  realize.  These  people  belong  to  many  different 
races,  and  are  found  in  every  part  of  India,  sometimes  in 
small,  sometimes  in  large  groups.  Their  poverty  is  in  most 
cases  pitiable.  Their  religion  consists  in  pacifying  diabolic 
powers  by  means  of  animal  sacrifice  and  various  forms  of 
barbaric  ritual. 

More  than  a  century  ago  Christian  missionaries  at 
tempted  to  win  some  of  these  groups  for  Christ;  and  at 
quite  an  early  date  they  met  with  some  success ;  but  it  was 
not  until  the  year  1880  that  anything  startling  occurred. 
The  years  from  1876  to  1879  were  marked  by  a  frightful 
famine,  which  brought  indescribable  suffering  and  lament 
able  loss  of  life  in  many  parts  of  the  South  of  India.  Chris 
tians  could  not  stand  idly  by  in  these  circumstances : 


RELIGIOUS  NATIONALISM  367 

Hundreds  of  thousands  of  people  were  dying  in  the  Tamil  and 
Telugu  countries.  Government  was  doing  what  it  could  in 
face  of  the  hopeless  mass  of  misery.  There  were  few  railroads, 
and  grain  brought  from  other  countries  by  sea  rotted  on  the 
beach  at  Madras  while  people  two  hundred  miles  away  starved 
for  lack  of  it.  At  this  crisis  missionaries  everywhere  co-operated 
with  Government  in  the  work  of  relief,  raising  funds  among  their 
own  supporters  at  home,  carrying  out  earthworks,  and  so  finding 
employment  for  many  poor  people,  and  doing  all  that  pity  and 
their  close  contact  with  the  people  enabled  them  to  do  to  help  the 
sufferers.1 

The  result  was  that  to  these  poor  down- trodden  people 
the  contrast  between  Hinduism  which  held  them  down, 
and  Christianity  which  did  all  that  it  possibly  could  to  save 
them,  began  to  be  dimly  visible;  and,  after  the  famine 
was  over,  they  came  to  the  missionaries  in  thousands  for 
baptism.  Such  movements  have  occurred  in  several  dis 
tinct  parts  of  India.  When  such  a  movement  begins,  it 
usually  lasts  for  a  number  of  years,  and  then  dies  down. 
Or,  it  may  slacken  and  then  increase  again. 

Wherever  it  has  been  possible  to  give  sufficient  attention 
to  this  work,  very  remarkable  results  have  been  secured. 
When  missionaries  began  to  appeal  to  these  people,  Hindus 
jeered  at  them,  saying  they  might  as  well  attempt  to  uplift 
the  monkeys  of  the  forest.  Certainly,  at  first  sight,  they 
are  most  unpromising  material,  physically,  socially,  men 
tally,  morally.  Yet  the  truth  of  Christ  and  loving  Chris 
tian  service  have  worked  miracles.  They  have  responded 
nobly,  and  great  advances  in  physical  well-being,  in  educa 
tion,  in  society  and  the  family,  and  also  in  religion,  have  been 
won. 

One  of  the  most  remarkable  features  of  the  work  is  this, 
that  Hindus  and  Muhammadans  all  over  India  at  once  give 
the  baptized  Outcaste  a  new  standing.  He  is  no  longer 
1  The  Outcastes'  Hope,  32-3. 


368     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

untouchable  and  beyond  the  pale,  but  is  received  as  other 
Christians  are. 

For  many  years  the  work  went  on  without  causing  much 
comment  from  the  Hindu  side ;  though,  now  and  then,  some 
educated  man  would  refer  to  Christian  success  among  these 
people  either  in  scorn  or  in  bitter  anger.  But,  just  about 
the  time  when  the  new  nationalist  spirit  was  spreading  far 
and  wide,  fresh  currents  of  thought  began  to  shew  them 
selves  both  among  the  Outcastes  themselves  and  among 
educated  men. 

Groups  of  these  Outcastes  who  had  not  become  Chris 
tians  had  begun  to  realize  that  the  doctrine  which  for  so 
long  had  justified  their  miserable  condition  was  false,  and 
that  it  was  not  held  by  missionaries  or  the  British  Govern 
ment.  The  hope  that  they  might  be  able  to  throw  off  their 
chains  began  to  rise  in  their  hearts.  These  new  stirrings 
appeared  in  different  parts  of  India.  First  of  all,  came  the 
Tiyas  of  Malabar,  and,  later,  the  Vokkaligas  of  Mysore. 
In  the  case  of  both  these  peoples  the  rising  is  so  remarkable 
that  we  have  dealt  with  them  alongside  of  Caste  movements.1 
Another  noticeable  case  is  the  rising  of  the  Mahars  of  the 
Maratha  country.  They  met  in  Conference  at  Poona  in 
November,  1910,  and  drew  up  a  Memorial  to  the  Earl  of 
Crewe,  Secretary  of  State  for  India,  begging  that  certain 
privileges  which  their  fathers  enjoyed  in  the  Indian  army 
should  be  restored  to  them.  In  this  connection  they  speak 
of  the  many  Mahars  who  fell  wounded  or  died  fighting 
bravely  side  by  side  with  Europeans,  and  with  Indians  who 
were  not  Outcastes.  But  much  more  important  than  this 
claim  of  theirs  is  the  spirit  shown  in  the  Memorial,  and  the 
statements  they  make  to  the  Secretary  for  India.  The 
following  are  a  few  sentences  taken  from  it : 

1  Above,  pp.  311  and  314. 


RELIGIOUS  NATIONALISM  369 

As  British  subjects  we  cannot,  we  should  not  submit  to  ordi 
nances  which  are  entirely  foreign  to  British  ideas  of  public  justice 
and  public  honour.  We  are  sick  of  the  bondage  which  the  barbar 
ism  of  Hindu  customs  imposes  upon  us ;  we  long  to  enjoy  the 
perfect  freedom  which  the  British  nation  and  the  British  Gov 
ernment  desire  to  offer  impartially  to  all  those  who  are  con 
nected  with  them  as  British  subjects. 

We  would,  therefore,  earnestly  appeal  to  the  Imperial  Gov 
ernment  to  move  on  our  behalf.  We  have  long  submitted  to  the 
Jagannath  of  caste;  we  have  for  ages  been  crushed  under  its 
ponderous  wheels.  But  we  can  now  no  longer  submit  to  the 
tyranny. 

Our  Hindu  rulers  did  not  recognize  our  manhood,  and  treated 
us  worse  than  their  cattle;  and  shall  not  that  nation  which 
emancipated  the  Negro  at  infinite  self-sacrifice,  and  enlightened 
and  elevated  the  poorer  people  of  its  own  commonwealth, 
condescend  to  give  us  a  helping  hand  ? 

The  kindly  touch  of  the  Christian  religion  elevates  the  Mahar 
at  once  and  for  ever,  socially  as  well  as  politically,  and  shall  not 
the  magic  power  of  British  Law  and  British  Justice  produce  the 
same  effect  upon  us  even  as  followers  of  our  own  ancestral  faith  ? 

A  similar  story  may  be  told  of  the  Namasudras  of  Bengal. 
They  are  amongst  the  very  lowest  classes  of  the  country; 
yet  we  find  them  in  Conference  in  April,  1910,  seeking  to 
plan  for  their  own  advancement,  and  stirring  each  other 
up  to  various  items  of  social  reform.1  A  few  months  later 
a  still  more  interesting  event  took  place  in  the  Panjab : 

An  incident  which  would  appear  to  be  queer,  under  existing 
conditions,  is  reported  to  the  Hindustan  from  Jullundur.  To 
the  reflecting  mind  it  appears  to  be  but  the  beginning,  feeble 
though  it  be,  of  a  spirit  of  retaliation  against  the  most  inhuman 
and  degrading  treatment  meted  out  by  Hindus  and  Mussalmans 
alike  to  the  depressed  classes  for  centuries  past.  The  sweepers 
of  Jullundur  have  started  a  society  called  the  Valmika  Samdj 
to  defend  their  interests.  They  do  not  think  themselves  to  be 
in  any  way  inferior  to  their  Hindu  or  Mussalman  compatriots. 
1 ISR.,  XX,  397. 

2B 


370     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

At  the  last  Dussehra  fair  they  opened  a  shop  vending  sweet 
meats  for  the  benefit  of  members  of  their  own  community.  The 
following  is  the  translation  on  the  board:  —  "Let  it  be  known 
to  the  High-born  that  Hindus  and  Mussalmans  are  prohibited  to 
buy  sweets  here.  Chuhras  and  all  others  are  welcome."  l 

Somewhere  about  1903  the  whole  problem  began  to  be 
discussed  in  the  Indian  press.  Orthodox  Hindus  still  con 
demned  the  missionary  propaganda  in  violent  terms,  but 
far-sighted  men  gave  utterance  to  other  ideas.  Here  is 
what  the  Hon.  Mr.  G.  K.  Gokhale  said  at  a  public  meeting 
in  Dharwar  in  1903  : 

I  think  all  fair-minded  persons  will  have  to  admit  that  it  is 
absolutely  monstrous  that  a  class  of  human  beings  with  bodies 
similar  to  our  own,  with  brains  that  can  think  and  with  hearts 
that  can  feel,  should  be  perpetually  condemned  to  a  low  life  of 
utter  wretchedness,  servitude  and  mental  and  moral  degradation, 
and  that  permanent  barriers  should  be  placed  in  their  way  so 
that  it  should  be  impossible  for  them  ever  to  overcome  them  and 
improve  their  lot.  This  is  deeply  revolting  to  our  sense  of  jus 
tice.  I  believe  one  has  only  to  put  oneself  mentally  into  their 
places  to  realize  how  grievous  this  injustice  is.  We  may  touch 
a  cat,  we  may  touch  a  dog,  we  may  touch  any  other  animal,  but 
the  touch  of  these  human  beings  is  pollution.  And  so  complete 
is  now  the  mental  degradation  of  these  people  that  they  them 
selves  see  nothing  in  such  treatment  to  resent,  that  they  acquiesce 
in  it  as  though  nothing  better  than  that  was  their  due.  More 
over,  is  it,  I  may  ask,  consistent  with  our  own  self-respect  that 
these  men  should  be  kept  out  of  our  houses  and  shut  out  from  all 
social  intercourse  as  long  as  they  remain  within  the  pale  of  Hin 
duism,  whereas  the  moment  they  put  on  a  coat,  and  a  hat  and  a 
pair  of  trousers  and  call  themselves  Christians  we  are  prepared 
to  shake  hands  with  them  and  look  upon  them  as  quite 
respectable  ?  No  sensible  man  will  say  that  this  is  a  satisfactory 
state  of  things.2 

1  From  the  Punjabee.     Reproduced  in  ISR.,  XXI,  98. 

2  Quoted  in  the  Memorial  of  the  Mahars. 


RELIGIOUS  NATIONALISM  371 

At  a  later  date  Mr.  Gokhale's  political  instincts  led  him  to 
give  utterance  to  another  wise  word  : 

The  problem  of  the  depressed  classes  really  went  to  the  root 
of  their  claim  to  be  treated  on  terms  of  equality  with  other 
civilized  communities  of  the  world.  They  were  all  of  them 
asking  —  he  might  even  use  the  word  clamouring  —  for  equal 
treatment  by  other  communities.  He  thought  they  were 
entitled  to  do  that,  and  they  would  be  unworthy  of  their  man 
hood  if  they  did  not  agitate  for  it.  But  they  would  deserve  to 
have  it  only  when  they  were  prepared  to  extend  the  same  treat 
ment  to  those  who  expected  it  at  their  hands.1 

The  ^v^Samaj  was  probably  the  first  body  that  pro 
posed  to  outflank  the  missionary  movement : 

•— '-^^'W.-— V-  ~— -x.^— >•— -"""V_*-"X»--'">««»---">-'~"'<' 

While  the  people  of  India  increased  in  1891-1901  at  the  rate 
of  ij  per  cent,  native  Christians  increased  at  the  rate  of  over 
30  per  cent.  Just  consider  for  a  moment  what  Christian  mission 
aries  are  accomplishing  in  India,  though  they  come  here  from  the 
remotest  part  of  Europe.  They  beat  even  the  Arya  Samajists, 
in  spite  of  their  preaching  the  indigenous  faith  of  the  country. 
The  reason  is  that  the  Arya  Samajists  have  not  yet  learnt  to 
work  among  the  masses  who  form  the  backbone  of  India.  It  is 
high  time  for  us  to  realize  that  the  future  of  India  lies  not  in  the 
hands  of  the  higher  classes  but  of  the  low  caste  people,  and  if  we 
devote  the  best  part  of  our  enegry  in  raising  the  status  of  the 
masses,  we  can  make  every  Indian  household  resound  with  the 
chanting  of  Vedas  at  no  distant  date.  But  where  are  the  men, 
where  is  the  sacrifice  ?  2 

Later,  certain  Hindus  took  up  the  same  position;  but 
others  pointed  out  that  the  policy  of  raising  the  Outcaste 
is  contrary  to  Hinduism  and  must  certainly  tend  to  break 
up  the  religion.  The  following  is  a  sentence  from  the 

Mahratta : 3 

Now  we  know  that  the  result  of  educating  the  depressed 
classes  must  be  in  the  long  run  to  weaken,  if  not  utterly  destroy 
caste. 

1 ISR.,  XX,  88.       2  From  the  Arya  Messenger.       3  November  7,  1909. 


372      MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

Yet,  in  spite  of  many  cries  of  danger,  the  conscience  of 
India  has  been  waked.  Men  realize  that  it  is  wrong  to  hold 
down  the  Outcaste.  Then  the  new  Nationalist  conscious 
ness  feels  so  distinctly  the  need  of  unifying  the  nation  and  of 
strengthening  every  element  in  the  population  that  the  prob 
lem  of  transforming  these  fifty  millions  of  crushed  Indians 
into  vigorous  citizens  is  felt  to  be  one  of  the  most  pressing 
national  problems.  Hence  the  best  men  have  turned  to 
action. 

The  Brahma  Samaj  and  the  Prarthana  Samaj  were  the 
first  bodies  outside  the  Christian  Church  that  gave  any 
attention  to  the  depressed  classes ;  but  their  work  has  never 
risen  to  such  dimensions  as  to  make  it  of  great  importance. 
The  Prarthana  Samaj  in  Mangalore  has  been  working  among 
these  poor  people  since  1898,  and  the  Brahmas  have  a 
little  work  going  on  in  East  Bengal.  In  1906,  however, 
things  began  to  take  a  more  practical  turn.  The  Depressed 
Classes  Mission  Society  of  India  was  founded  in  Bombay 
that  year.  It  shows  clearly  the  influence  of  the  most  recent 
developments  of  the  national  spirit ;  for  the  philanthropic 
aim  of  the  work  is  largely  sustained  by  national  feeling; 
and  people  of  any  religion  may  take  part  in  the  work.  As  a 
matter  of  fact,  however,  the  leaders  throughout  have  be 
longed  to  the  Prarthana  Samaj,  though  they  have  received 
a  great  deal  of  support  from  Hindus.  The  following  gives 
a  sketch  of  the  aims  of  the  Society,  its  work  and  its  finances : 

The  object  of  the  Society  shall  be  to  maintain  a  Mission  which 
shall  seek  to  elevate  the  social  as  well  as  the  spiritual  condition 
of  the  Depressed  Classes  viz.  the  Mahars,  Chambhars,  Pariahs, 
Namsudras,  Dheds,  and  all  other  classes  treated  as  untouchable 
in  India,  by 

(1)  Promo  ting  education, 

(2)  Providing  work, 

(3)  Remedying  their  social  disabilities, 


RELIGIOUS  NATIONALISM  373 

(4)  Preaching  to  them  principles  of  Liberal  Religion,  per 
sonal  character  and  good  citizenship. 


Work  of  the  Society 

The  present  organization  and  work  of  the  Society,  which  is 
described  at  length  in  the  last  annual  report,  a  copy  of  which 
accompanies  this  representation  among  other  enclosures,  may  be 
summarized  as  follows :  — 

The  Society  has  under  it  fifteen  centres  of  work  in  and  out 
side  of  the  Bombay  Presidency,  viz.  Bombay,  Poona,  Hubli, 
Nagpur,  Yeotmal,  Thana,  Satara,  Mahableshwar,  Malvan, 
Dapoli,  Akola,  Amraoti,  Bhavanagar,  Mangalore,  Madras.  Of 
these  the  first  five,  being  incorporated  branches,  are  under  the 
direct  control  of  the  Executive  Committee  of  the  Society  and  the 
rest,  being  only  affiliated,  are  independent  in  the  management 
of  their  own  local  affairs.  The  Headquarters  are  in  Parel, 
Bombay,  and  the  Society  is  registered  as  a  charitable  Body  under 
Act  XXI  of  1860.  It  has  at  present  in  all  thirty  educational 
institutions  of  which  five  are  Boarding  Houses,  four  are  technical 
institutions,  one  is  a  middle  school  and  the  remaining  are  primary 
schools.  The  number  of  pupils  on  the  roll  on  the  3ist  December 
last  was  1,231  and  the  total  expenditure  of  the  Society  on  its 
educational  work  last  year  was  Rs.  20,304.11.5  for  which  the 
total  Grant-in-Aid  received  from  the  Government  and  the  local 
municipalities  for  the  year  was  Rs.  1,956.  Of  the  thirty  institu 
tions  sixteen  are  incorporated  and  fourteen  are  affiliated  to  the 
Society.1 

It  will  be  seen  that  this  Society,  which  was  started  in  Bom 
bay  some  seven  years  ago,  has  roused  people  in  many  parts 
of  Western  and  Southern  India  to  the  duty  of  doing  some 
thing  for  the  Outcaste.  The  Society  is  therefore  an  or 
ganization  of  real  value,  and  may  do  still  larger  work  in  the 
future.  It  will  be  noticed  that  the  work  of  the  Mission  is 
practically  confined  to  education,  except  in  so  far  as  it  seeks 

1  From  an  address  presented  to  H.  E.  the  Governor  of  Bombay,  on  the 
3oth  of  July,  1913.  ISR.,  XXIII,  580. 


374     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

to  rouse  public  opinion.  A  similar  society  exists  in  Cal 
cutta,  but  it  has  not  grown  to  any  strength. 

Several  of  the  sectarian  groups  are  attempting  to  gather 
in  Outcastes  to  their  fold,  and  all  of  them  follow  the  edu 
cational  method  which  the  Depressed  Classes  Mission  uses. 
I  have  not  been  able  to  get  detailed  reports  of  these  activi 
ties,  perhaps  because  in  most  cases  the  work  done  is  small. 
The  Arya  Samaj  probably  does  more  than  the  others.  The 
Deva  Samaj  has  three  schools  in  distinct  centres  in  the  Pan- 
jab.  The  local  Sikh  Associations  called  Singh  Sabhas 
do  what  they  can  to  induce  Outcastes  to  become  Sikhs. 
Some  Hindus  in  the  Mysore  State  have  organized  what  they 
call  The  Hindu  Education  Mission  to  help  the  children  of  the 
Outcastes  of  Mysore.  Three  day  schools  and  two  night 
schools  have  been  already  started.  The  Theosophists  of 
Madras  have  also  a  few  schools  for  the  same  class.  Mu- 
hammadans  in  the  Panjab,  and  also  in  Malabar  have 
succeeded  in  persuading  groups  of  Outcastes  to  become 
Muslims. 

But  by  far  the  most  significant  and  important  fact  to  be 
observed  with  regard  to  this  whole  question  is  the  fact  that 
the  conscience  of  India  has  been  roused  by  what  missions 
have  done;  and  it  is  now  perfectly  clear  that,  whether 
sooner  or  later,  whether  through  the  Christian  Church  or 
through  other  agencies,  the  Outcastes  of  India  will  in 
evitably  escape  from  the  inhuman  condition  in  which  Hin 
duism  has  imprisoned  them  for  two  thousand  years.  Thus 
in  far-distant  India,  and  in  the  twentieth  century,  Christ 
fulfils  once  more  His  promise  to  bring  release  to  the  captive. 
Perhaps  the  clearest  proof  of  the  change  in  the  attitude  of 
the  Indian  public  generally  to  this  question  will  be  found 
in  a  small  volume,  called  The  Depressed  Classes,  containing 
twenty-three  addresses  and  papers  by  Hindus,  Christians, 
Theosophists,  Aryas,  Brahmas,  and  Prarthana  Samajists. 


RELIGIOUS  NATIONALISM  375 

Many  signs  of  the  working  of  this  new  spirit  may  be  ob 
served.  The  Director  of  Public  Instruction  in  the  Bombay 
Presidency  observes  that  during  the  last  few  years  a  great 
change  has  come  over  local  boards  and  other  bodies ;  there 
is  now  far  less  objection  to  Outcaste  children  taking  places 
in  the  ordinary  schools.1  Mr.  T.  B.  Pandian  has  succeeded 
in  raising  money  to  dig  a  number  of  wells  for  Outcastes  in 
the  Tamil  country.2  Quite  recently  the  Hindu  community 
in  a  centre  in  the  Panjab  held  a  ceremony  to  begin  the  prac 
tice  of  allowing  these  untouchable  Outcastes  to  use  the  ordi 
nary  wells.3  So  the  leaven  works. 

Yet  it  is  very  important  to  observe  that,  though  the  ac 
tivities  of  the  Depressed  Classes  Mission  are  of  considerable 
value,  the  fact  that  it  can  do  no  vigorous  religious  work 
seriously  weakens  its  results.  "The  kindly  touch  of  the 
Christian  religion  elevates  the  Mahar  at  once  and  for  ever," 
as  the  Mahars  said  in  their  address  to  the  Earl  of  Crewe; 
while  the  Depressed  Classes  Mission  can  merely  give  a  little 
education  and  moral  advice. 

LITERATURE.  —  The  Outcastes'  Hope,  by  G.  E.  Phillips,  London, 
Y.  P.  M.  M.,  1912,  is.  net.  The  Depressed  Classes,  by  many  writers, 
Madras,  Natesan,  1912,  Re.  i. 

b.  Universal  Education 

One  of  the  most  striking  manifestations  of  the  new 
national  spirit  is  the  Bill  which  Mr.  Gokhale  laid  before  the 
Viceroy's  Council  in  the  winter  of  1911-1912,  for  the  purpose 
of  extending  primary  education  all  over  the  country.  The 
method  proposed  was  to  give  local  authorities  the  power, 
under  certain  conditions,  to  make  primary  education  com 
pulsory  amongst  the  people  under  their  jurisdiction.  For 
various  reasons  the  Bill  was  rejected,  but  it  served  a  very 

1 ISR.,  XXI,  184.  2  Ib.,  XX,  621.  •  Ib.,  XXIII,  25. 


376     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

useful  purpose  in  familiarizing  the  educated  classes  with 
the  reasons  why  universal  education  is  desirable,  and  in 
evoking  the  opinions  of  the  native  press  on  the  subject. 
Thus,  though  it  failed  to  pass,  the  Bill  undoubtedly  for 
warded  the  cause.  Some  step  for  the  furtherance  of  uni 
versal  education  will  have  to  be  taken  ere  long. 


c.   The  Servants  of  India  Society 

In  Poona  there  is  a  Hindu  College  called  the  Fergusson 
College,  the  professors  of  which  receive  very  small  salaries 
and  do  their  work  for  the  love  of  India.  The  quality  of 
the  education  is  high ;  and  a  number  of  most  devoted  public 
servants  have  been  trained  in  its  work.  Amongst  these 
the  most  brilliant  is  the  Hon.  Mr.  Gopal  Krishna  Gokhale, 
C.  I.  E.  He  served  as  one  of  the  professors  of  the  College 
for  twenty  years,  from  1885  till  the  end  of  1904.  He  then 
set  himself  to  the  formation  of  a  society,  the  aim  of  which 
should  be  devoted  and  life-long  service  to  the  people  of 
India. 

The  following  paragraphs  give  the  substance  of  an  in 
terview  which  the  writer  had  with  Mr.  Gokhale  in  the 
National  Liberal  Club,  London,  in  June,  1913. 

The  Society,  which  was  established  in  1905,  is  called  the 
Servants  of  India  Society.  Its  headquarters  are  in  Poona, 
where  there  is  a  Home  specially  built  for  the  training  of  the 
workers ;  and  there  are  Branches  in  four  of  the  provinces 
of  India,  Bombay,  the  Central  Provinces,  Madras  and  the 
United  Provinces. 

Only  University  graduates  or  men  who  have  done  success 
ful  public  service  are  admitted  as  members.  When  a  young 
man  wishes  to  become  a  member,  he  lives  in  Mr.  Gokhale's 
house  for  a  short  time,  or  in  the  Home,  so  that  he  may  learn  by 
experience  what  the  society  is,  and  so  that  the  other  members 


RELIGIOUS  NATIONALISM  377 

may  have  an  opportunity  of  gauging  his  temperament  and 
character.     If  he  is  thought  suitable  and  if  he  wishes  to  go 
into  the  work,  he  becomes  a  student.     For  five  years  he  re 
ceives  a  salary  of  only  thirty  rupees  a  month,  and  spends 
every  year  four  months  in  study  in  the  Home  in  Poona, 
six  months  in  practical  work  in  that  Branch  of  the  society 
to  which  he  belongs  and  two  months  at  home.     The  purpose 
of  the  whole  movement  is  to  create  by  means  of  practical 
work  a  higher  type  of  worker.     The  progress  of  India  ist 
the  great  aim  in  view.     There  is  a  clear  perception  that,  if  i 
India  is  to  be  a  nation,  the  communities  must  become  united. . 
Hence  in  all  the  work  of  the  society  the  aim  of  bringing 
Hindus  and  Muhammadans  together  in  real  brotherhood) 
is  kept  in  view.     Young  Hindus  are  sent  to  live  among  Mu-) 
hammadans,  to  help  them  by  loving  service  to  the  utmost ' 
of  their  power,  just  as  missionaries  do. 

Th£jotie^^sj)rje^^  ; 

and  there  is  a  keen  desire  on  the  part  of  the  leaders  to  get 
members  other  than  Hindus.  One  Muhammadan  is  al 
ready  a  member.  There  is  no  attempt  made  to  bind  the 
men  together  religiously.  There  are  no  common  prayers 
in  the  Home.  Each  man  is  left  to  order  his  own  devotions 
as  he  thinks  best.  Yet  Mr.  Gokhale  holds  that  the  aims 
in  view,  and  the  serious  renunciation  which  membership 
imposes,  are  in  themselves  deeply  religious.  No  demand 
is  made  that  a  student  should  give  up  caste ;  yet  brotherly 
feeling  in  the  Home  is  so  rich  and  deep  that  no  caste  dis 
tinctions  are  kept.  Members  are  not  asked  to  become 
celibates ;  but  life  in  the  Home  during  the  four  months  of 
training  is  monastic.  The  students  are  completely  under 
the  guidance  of  the  First  Member,  Mr.  Gokhale.  During 
the  five  years  of  their  training  they  are  not  allowed  to  de 
liver  public  addresses  or  to  write  to  the  magazines,  without 
first  submitting  the  matter  to  the  First  Member. 


378      MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

The  work  of  the  society  is  carried  on  under  the  direction 
of  the  Branches.  Those  who  are  members  give  their  whole 
time  and  work  to  public  service,  while  the  students  give 
their  annual  term  of  six  months.  A  few  of  them  are  told 
off  annually  to  make  arrangements  for  the  meetings  of  the 
National  Congress.  They  do  all  they  possibly  can  to  help 
such  movements  as  primary  education,  female  education,  and 
the  uplifting  of  the  Depressed  Classes.  In  Berar  a  great 
deal  has  been  done  to  help  the  Co-operative  Credit  Societies 
of  the  Province.  During  the  serious  fodder-famine  from 
which  Gujarat  suffered  in  1912,  ten  members  and  six  volun 
teers  were  fully  engaged  for  ten  months,  and  did  priceless 
service. 

After  the  five  years  of  studentship  are  over,  a  member 
receives  only  fifty  rupees  a  month  of  salary,  even  if  he  be  a 
married  man  with  a  family.  There  are  at  present  twenty- 
six  members  in  all.  The  expenses  of  the  society  already 
run  from  twenty  to  forty  thousand  rupees  per  annum.  Mr. 
Gokhale  raises  the  bulk  of  this  large  sum  himself  from 
private  friends. 

The  following  paragraphs  copied  from  a  brief  prospectus 
of  the  society  :  will  give  a  clear  idea  of  the  spirit  of  the 
undertaking : 

For  some  time  past,  the  conviction  has  been  forcing  itself  on 
many  earnest  and  thoughtful  minds  that  a  stage  has  been 
reached  in  the  work  of  nation-building  in  India,  when,  for  further 
progress,  the  devoted  labours  of  a  specially  trained  agency, 
applying  itself  to  the  task  in  a  true  missionary  spirit,  are  re 
quired.  The  work  that  has  been  accomplished  so  far  has  indeed 
been  of  the  highest  value.  The  growth  during  the  last  fifty 
years  of  a  feeling  of  common  nationality,  based  upon  common 
traditions  and  ties,  common  hopes  and  aspirations,  and  even 
common  disabilities,  has  been  most  striking.  The  fact  that  we 
are  Indians  first,  and  Hindus,  Mahomedans  and  Parsees  or 
1  The  Servants  of  India  Society,  to  be  had  from  the  Society. 


RELIGIOUS  NATIONALISM  379 

Christians  afterwards,  is  being  realized  in  a  steadily  increasing 
measure,  and  the  idea  of  a  united  and  renovated  India,  marching 
onwards  to  a  place  among  the  nations  of  the  world  worthy  of  her 
great  past,  is  no  longer  a  mere  idle  dream  of  a  few  imaginative 
minds,  but  is  the  definitely  accepted  creed  of  those  who  form  the 
brain  of  the  community  —  the  educated  classes  of  the  country. 
A  creditable  beginning  has  already  been  made  in  matters  of 
education  and  of  local  self-government;  and  all  classes  of  the 
people  are  slowly  but  steadily  coming  under  the  influence  of 
liberal  ideas.  The  claims  of  public  life  are  every  day  receiving 
wider  recognition,  and  attachment  to  the  land  of  our  birth  is 
growing  into  a  strong  and  deeply  cherished  passion  of  the  heart. 
The  annual  meetings  of  Congresses  and  Conferences,  the  work  of 
public  bodies  and  associations,  the  writings  in  the  columns  of  the 
Indian  Press  —  all  bear  witness  to  the  new  life  that  is  coursing 
in  the  veins  of  the  people.  The  results  achieved  so  far  are 
undoubtedly  most  gratifying,  but  they  only  mean  that  the  jungle 
has  been  cleared  and  the  foundations  laid.  The  great  work  of 
rearing  the  superstructure  has  yet  to  be  taken  in  hand  and  the 
situation  demands  on  the  part  of  workers  devotion  and  sacrifices 
proportionate  to  the  magnitude  of  the  task. 

The  Servants  of  India  Society  has  been  established  to  meet 
in  some  measure  these  requirements  of  the  situation.  Its  mem 
bers  frankly  accept  the  British  connection  as  ordained,  in  the 
inscrutable  dispensation  of  Providence,  for  India's  good.  Self- 
Government  within  the  Empire  for  their  country  and  a  higher 
life  generally  for  their  countrymen  is  their  goal.  This  goal,  they 
recognize,  cannot  be  attained  without  years  of  earnest  and 
patient  effort  and  sacrifices  worthy  of  the  cause.  Much  of  the 
work  must  be  directed  toward  building  up  in  the  country  a  higher 
type  of  character  and  capacity  than  is  generally  available  at 
present ;  and  the  advance  can  only  be  slow.  Moreover  the  path 
is  beset  with  great  difficulties ;  there  will  be  constant  tempta 
tions  to  turn  back ;  bitter  disappointments  will  repeatedly  try 
the  faith  of  those  who  have  put  their  hand  to  the  work.  But  the 
weary  toil  can  have  but  one  end,  if  only  the  workers  grow  not 
faint-hearted  on  the  way.  One  essential  condition  of  success  in 
this  work  is  that  a  sufficient  number  of  our  countrymen  must 
now  come  forward  to  devote  themselves  to  the  cause  in  the  spirit 


380     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

in  which  religious  work  is  undertaken.  Public  life  must  be 
spiritualized.  Love  of  country  must  so  fill  the  heart  that  all  else 
shall  appear  as  of  little  moment  by  its  side.  A  fervent  patriot 
ism  which  rejoices  at  every  opportunity  of  sacrifice  for  the 
motherland,  a  dauntless  heart  which  refuses  to  be  turned  back 
from  its  object  by  difficulty  or  danger,  a  deep  faith  in  the  purpose 
of  Providence  which  nothing  can  shake  —  equipped  with  these, 
the  worker  must  start  on  his  mission  and  reverently  seek  the 
joy  which  conies  of  spending  oneself  in  the  service  of  one's 
country. 

Mr.  M.  K.  Gandhi,1  who  did  such  excellent  service  in 
the  struggle  with  the  South  African  Government  for  jus 
tice  for  the  Indian,  has  signified  his  intention  of  becoming 
a  worker  under  the  Society. 

d.  The  Seva  Sadan 

The  progress  of  thought  and  the  march  of  events,  work 
ing  together  in  India,  have  forced  many  w^m£n^jj>roblems 
to  the  front  during  the  last  few  years. 

The  Seva  Sadan,  or  Home2  of  Service,  was  founded  in 
Bombay  in  July,  1908,  by  Mr.  B.  M.  Malabari,  the  Parsee 
Reformer  whose  pamphlet  on  Child-marriage  and  Widow- 
celibacy  published  in  1887  is  mentioned  above,3  and  Daya- 
ram  Gidumal,  a  Hindu  from  Sindh,  a  retired  judge.  These 
two  vigorous  men  collected  large  sums  of  money  and  guar 
anteed  a  steady  income  for  the  institution.  During  the  last 
three  years  they  paid  in  Rs.  45,000  between  them,  and 
raised  an  Endowment  and  Building  Fund  of  Rs.  82,000. 
But  Malabari  is  dead,  while  Gidumal  has  fallen  away  from 

1  See  M .  K.  Gandhi,  a  sketch  of  his  life  and  work.  Madras,  Natesan, 
as.  4. 

2 1  owe  practically  all  my  information  on  the  Seva  Sadan  to  a  letter 
from  Miss  B.  A.  Engineer,  the  General  Secretary,  and  a  few  pamphlets  which 
she  kindly  sent  me. 

8  See  p.  87. 


RELIGIOUS  NATIONALISM  381 

social  reform ;  so  that  the  Seva  Sadan  must  now  rely  on 
other  friends. 

Perhaps  the  following  lines  cut  from  one  of  their  publica 
tions  will  most  readily  give  a  clear  idea  of  the  work : 

OBJECT :  —  Social  Educational  and  Medical  Service  (Seva) 
through  Indian  Sisters,  regular  and  lay. 
j  The  Society  maintains  the  following  institutions :  — 
*  i.  A  Home  for  the  Homeless. 
|  2.  An  Industrial  Home  with  various  departments. 
/  3.  A  Shelter  for  the  distressed. 
»  4.  A  Dispensary  for  Women  and  Children. 
>  5.  Ashrams  (or  Sisterhoods)  —  Hindu,  Parsi  and  Mahom- 
medan. 

6.  A  Work-Class,  also  Home  Classes  in  Chawls  (i.e.  large 
tenement  houses). 

All  these  are  for  the  benefit  of  women. 

A  resident  lady  doctor  gives  her  whole  time  to  the  work ; 
and  two  others  give  a  certain  amount  of  help.  A  social 
service  nurse  is  also  available  for  outdoor  work ;  and  there 
are  lay  sisters,  Hindu,  Parsee  and  Muslim,  who  move 
about  among  the  poor.  Young  probationers  are  sent  for 
training  to  various  medical  schools. 

The  society  also  publishes  tracts  for  free  distribution  on 
medical,  sanitary  and  moral  subjects. 

The  Home  has  now  its  own  building  in  Gamdevi  Road, 
Bombay.  The  annual  expenditure  is  about  Rs.  20,000. 

There  are  branches  in  Poona  and  Ahmedabad  which  are 
also  doing  excellent  work. 

One  might  reasonably  mention  here  certain  other  forms 

of  social  work,  such  as  Widows'  Homes,  the  Social  Service 

being  done  by  students,  and  especially  the  Nishkama  Karma 

Matha,1  which  is  very  similar  in  purpose  and  in  work  to  the 

1  See  below,  p.  403. 


382     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

Seva  Sadan ;  but  our  aim  in  this  chapter  has  been  to  group 
together  the  new  movements  which  shew  a  decidedly 
nationalist  purpose,  while  in  other  chapters  we  have  dealt 
with  those  which  are  more  sectarian  in  character,1  or  are 
clearly  inspired  by  social  considerations.2 

4.  FINE  ART  AND  Music 

The  Government  School  of  Art,  Calcutta,  has  been  for 
several  years  the  centre  of  a  very  promising  revival  of 
Indian  painting,  sculpture,  wood-carving  and  other  fine 
arts.  Mr.  E.  B.  Havell,  who  was  for  several  years  Principal 
of  the  School,  has  been  the  leader  of  the  movement;  but 
he  has  been  ably  seconded  by  a  group  of  very  promising 
Indian  painters,  the  most  prominent  of  whom  is  Mr.  Aba- 
nindra  Nath  Tagore.  The  purpose  in  view  is  to  produce  a 
genuinely  Indian  school  of  art.  A  number  of  beautiful 
reproductions  of  both  ancient  and  modern  pictures  have 
been  published  at  moderate  prices  by  the  Indian  Society 
of  Oriental  Art,  which  is  closely  connected  with  the  Cal 
cutta  School ;  and  in  London  the  India  Society  is  doing 
similar  work. 

Mr.  Havell  and  Dr.  A.  K.  Coomaraswamy,  who  is  con 
nected  with  Ceylon,  have  for  several  years  led  a  crusade  to 
convince  the  world  that  Indian  art  has  high  spiritual  quali 
ties  which  set  it  at  least  in  the  front  rank  of  the  world's  art, 
if  not  in  advance  of  all  other  art.  This  high  argument, 
which  is  parallel  to  the  claims  made  on  behalf  of  Hinduism, 
Buddhism  and  other  Oriental  faiths  by  the  revivalists,  has 
proved  of  large  value ;  for  it  has  led  to  a  far  more  intelligent 
appreciation  of  Indian  sculpture  and  painting  than  was 
possible  in  former  years,  and  to  the  recognition  of  fine  quali 
ties  in  them  hitherto  unnoticed,  and  has  also  given  great 

1  Chap.  IV.  2  Chap.  VI. 


RELIGIOUS  NATIONALISM  383 

encouragement  to  Indian  artists ;  but  it  seems  clear  that  it 
has  failed  to  bring  sober  critics  to  the  acceptance  of  all  that 
Messrs.  Havell  and  Coomaraswamy  teach.  No  one  who 
wishes  to  understand  India  ought  to  fail  to  look  through 
Mr.  Havell's  exquisite  book,  Indian  Sculpture  and  Paint 
ing,  and  the  volumes  of  reproductions  published  by  Dr. 
Coomaraswamy. 

Until  quite  recently  the  cultivation  of  music  in  India 
was  left  largely  to  nautch-girls.  Here  also  the  new 
national  spirit  has  proved  creative.  Keen  interest  in 
the  best  Indian  music,  both  vocal  and  instrumental, 
is  being  shewn  in  several  quarters.  The  Gandharva 
Mahdvidydlaya,  or  Academy  of  Indian  Music,  was  estab 
lished  in  Lahore  in  1901,  but  has  now  its  headquarters  in 
Girgaum,  Bombay.  Local  musical  societies  have  appeared 
in  a  number  of  places,  one  of  which,  the  Poona  Gayan 
Samaj,  or  Song  Society,  may  be  mentioned.  Sir  George 
Clarke,  when  Governor  of  Bombay,  and  also  Lady  Clarke, 
did  all  they  could  to  encourage  these  efforts.  Within  the 
Christian  Church,  the  Rev.  H.  A.  Popley  of  Erode,  in 
South  India,  has  done  excellent  service  in  adapting  the  best 
Indian  music  to  Christian  uses.  Several  Europeans  have 
recently  written  books  on  Indian  music. 

LITERATURE.  —  Indian  Sculpture  and  Painting,  E.  B.  Havell,  Lon 
don,  Murray,  635.  Essays  on  Indian  Art,  Industry  and  Education,  E.  B. 
Havell,  Madras,  Natesan,  Rs.  i  as.  4.  Essays  on  National  Idealism, 
A.  K.  Coomaraswamy,  Madras,  Natesan,  Rs.  i .  The  Music  of  Hindu 
stan,  by  A.  H.  Fox  Strangways,  Oxford,  Clarendon  Press,  1914,  zis. 
net. 

5.  POETRY 

The  fourth  son  of  Debendranath  Tagore  *  is  Rabindra- 
nath  Tagore,2  who  is  by  far  the  most  prominent  literary 

1  See  p.  39,  above.  2  See  his  portrait,  Plate  XI,  facing  page  376. 


384     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

man  in  India  to-day.  For  many  years  he  has  been  the  ac 
knowledged  king  of  Bengali  literature.  His  songs  and  hymns 
are  on  every  lip,  and  everything  he  writes  is  treasured. 
When  he  delivers  an  oration  in  Bengali,  or  when  he  sings 
some  of  his  own  songs,  his  power  and  charm  are  inex 
pressible.  Quite  recently  he  translated  a  number  of  his 
short  devotional  poems  into  rhythmical  English  prose; 
and,  by  the  advice  of  his  friends,  they  were  published  in 
England,  under  the  title  Gitanjali.  He  is  now  recognized 
as  one  of  the  greatest  literary  men  of  the  Empire ;  and 
European  opinion  as  such  is  expressed  in  the  award  of  the 
Nobel  prize  for  literature  to  him. 

But  the  chief  fact  to  be  realized  about  him  is  that  he  is 
the  very  flower  of  the  new  nationalist  movement,  represent 
ing  at  their  very  highest  the  noblest  motives  that  have 
stirred  the  people  of  India  since  the  new  century  began. 
His  position  is  central.  Though  he  is  the  son  of  Deben- 
dranath  Tagore,1  he  no  longer  holds  his  father's  religious 
position.  He  expects,  as  he  said  to  me  a  few  months  ago, 
that  the  regeneration  of.  India  will  come  through  gradual 
change  within  the  body  of  Hinduism  itself  rather  than 
from  the  action  of  any  detached  society  like  the  Brahma 
Samaj.  Even  when  he  tells  his  readers  in  Sddhana  that 
his  religious  faith  is  a  purely  Indian  growth,  owing  noth 
ing  to  the  West,  he  is  still  the  child  of  his  day ;  for  the 
modern  Nationalist  has  no  difficulty  in  finding  every 
Christian  principle  and  practice  in  ancient  Hinduism. 

Mr.  Tagore  sums  up  in  himself  all  the  best  characteristics 
of  modern  nationalist  thought  and  feeling.  He  is  an  eager 
educationalist,  maintaining  at  Bolpur,  Bengal,  a  Boarding 
School  in  which  two  hundred  boys  receive  an  education 
combining  the  best  traditions  of  the  old  Hindu  teaching 
with  the  healthiest  modern  methods.  A  good  modern 

1  P.  39,  above. 


RELIGIOUS  NATIONALISM  385 

education  is  given ;  the  health  of  the  body  is  secured  by  ath 
letics;  and  music  and  daily  worship,  in  the  simple  and 
severe  manner  of  the  Brahma  Samaj,  are  used  to  purify  and 
strengthen  the  religious  nature.1 

Mr.  Tagore  feels  as  keenly  on  social  questions.  Never 
shall  I  forget  the  magnificent  oration  which  I  heard  him 
deliver  in  Bengali,  on  Indian  Society,  in  the  Minerva  Theatre, 
Calcutta.2  The  loftiness  of  the  speaker's  character,  his 
brilliant  diction,  and  the  superb  strength  and  music  of  his 
utterance  moved  me  very  deeply,  and  produced  an  extraor 
dinary  effect  on  the  great  audience.  His  proposals  were 
scarcely  practical,  and  no  one  has  attempted  to  carry  them 
out  in  action ;  but  one  could  not  fail  to  realize  his  insight 
into  the  urgency  of  the  whole  social  problem  or  to  feel  the 
heart-throb  of  nationalism  in  every  sentence. 

The  universal  appeal  of  Gitanjali  3  is  due  largely  to  the 
lofty  religious  feeling  which  inspires  the  work,  and  to  the 
sincerity  and  simplicity  of  the  style,  touched  with  the 
colour  and  fragrance  of  the  East,  but  largely  also  to  the 
character  of  the  religious  ideas  of  the  poems.  There  is 
sufficient  Hindu  phraseology  and  form,  drawn  from  the 
exquisite  Bengali  lyrics  of  the  Chaitanya  movement,4  to 
distinguish  these  poems  from  European  work  and  to  give 
them  a  most  engaging  freshness ;  yet  the  dominant  beliefs 
are  Christian  and  in  full  harmony  with  modern  thought. 
There  is  no  karma,  no  transmigration, :  no  inaction,  no 
pessimism,  no  world-weariness  and  hatred  of  sense  in 
this  lofty  verse ;  but  there  is  the  perception  that  nature 
is  the  revelation  of  God ;  there  is  everywhere  the  joy  of 
meeting  Him  in  sun  and  shower ;  there  is  the  dignity  and 

1  The  school  is  described  in  the  Modern  Review,  May,  1913. 

2  July  22,  1904.     The  address  was  reported  in  the  Bengalee  next  day. 

3  Gitanjali,  by  R.  N.  Tagore.    London,  Macmillan,  1913,  45.  6d. 

4  P.  294,  above. 

2C 


386     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

worth  of  toil,  deliverance  won  only  by  going  down  where 
God  is,  among  "  the  poorest  and  lowliest  and  lost,"  the 
duty  of  service,  the  core  of  religion  found  in  righteous 
ness,  life  won  by  dying  to  self,  sin  recognized  as  shame  and 
thraldom,  and  death  as  God's  messenger  and  man's  friend.1 

1  This  essay  was  written  before  the  striking  appreciation  appeared  in  the 
Times  Literary  Supplement  of  May  16,  1914,  and  before  the  author  had 
seen  the  review  in  the  Spectator  of  Feb.  14,  1914. 


CHAPTER  VI 

SOCIAL   REFORM   AND    SERVICE 

1828-1913 

SOCIAL  service  and  reform  are  so  closely  intertwined  with 
religious  thought  and  effort  in  every  land,  and  especially 
in  India,  that  it  may  prove  useful  to  students  to  have  a 
connected  account,  however  brief,  of  the  various  movements 
and  organizations  which  have  influenced  the  people  of  India 
socially  during  the  past  century. 

i.  HISTORICAL  OUTLINE 

The  Indian  social  movement  is  a  direct  outcome  of 
Christian  missions  and  Western  influence ;  and  all  communi 
ties  have  felt  the  impact  in  a  greater  or  less  degree.  The 
primal  impulse  was  communicated  by  the  Serampore 
Missionaries  to  Ram  Mohan  Ray,  and  by  him  to  the 
Hindu  community;  and,  throughout  the  whole  history, 
Christian  teaching,  effort  and  example  have  done  more  than 
anything  else  to  quicken  the  movement. 

Ram  Mohan  Ray  scarcely  touched  the  question  of  caste, 
but  he  condemned  polygamy,  and  he  spoke  and  wrote 
against  widow-burning  with  so  much  force  and  convincing 
power  as  materially  to  prepare  the  way  for  Lord  Bentinck's 
act.1 

Under  Lord  Bentinck  the  British  Government  entered 
on  a  new  policy  of  very  great  significance,  the  putting  down 
of  certain  social  and  religious  customs  which  had  for  many 
1  Above,  p.  33. 

387 


388     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

centuries  been  usual  in  India  but  which  were  outrageously 
inhuman.  Widow-burning  was  prohibited  in  1829 ;  thagi, 
or  the  strangling  of  travellers,  was  then  put  down,  and  the 
crusade  against  female  infanticide  was  begun.  Under  later 
rulers  human  sacrifice  and  religious  suicide  were  prohibited. 

In  1849  a  secret  society  for  social  reform  was  founded  by 
Hindus  in  Bombay,  and  in  1851  the  Parsees  of  the  city 
formed  a  Religious  Reform  Association. 

Besides  their  daily  teaching  in  College,  Duff  and  the 
other  educational  missionaries  of  Calcutta  used  to  deliver 
public  lectures  in  the  city  in  which  social  as  well  as  religious 
questions  were  discussed.  As  a  result  of  this  Christian 
teaching  a  secret  society  was  formed  in  Calcutta,  in  which 
Hindus  pledged  themselves  to  educate  their  wives  and 
daughters.  In  1849  Isvara  Chandra  Vidyasagara,  along 
with  a  European  official,  Mr.  Drinkwater  Bethune,  founded 
the  first  Hindu  school  for  girls  in  Calcutta.  About  the  same 
time  Vidyasagara  also  began  the  agitation  which  led  to  the 
Government  Act  of  1856  legalizing  the  marriage  of  Hindu 
widows. 

A  little  earlier  Lord  Dalhousie  passed  an  Act  prohibiting 
the  gross  obscenities  which  until  then  had  been  common  in 
the  streets  of  Indian  cities.  It  was  found  necessary  to  in 
sert  a  clause  into  the  Bill  providing  that  its  restrictions 
should  not  apply  to  the  images,  temples  and  cars  of  the  gods. 

The  next  prominent  name  in  social  reform  is  Keshab 
Chandra  Sen.  He  was  the  first  non-Christian  who  adopted 
the  whole  social  programme  of  Christian  Missions,  namely, 
the  thorough  reform  of  the  Hindu  family,  the  repudiation 
of  caste  and  the  practice  of  philanthropy.  Through  his 
influence  new  non-idolatrous  rites  for  domestic  ceremonies 
were  introduced  among  Brahmas ;  and  they  gave  up  child- 
marriage,  polygamy  and  enforced  widowhood,  and  began 
to  press  forward  the  education  of  girls.  Brahma  marriages 


SOCIAL  REFORM  AND  SERVICE  389 

were  legalized  by  Lord  Lawrence's  Government  in  1872. 
Sasipada  Banerjea  did  a  good  deal  of  excellent  social  work 
at  Barahanagar  near  Calcutta.  The  New  Dispensation 
and  the  Sadharan  Brahma  Samaj  are  still  true  to  Keshab's 
teaching  and  practice  in  social  matters. 

The  interest  of  the  story  passes  next  to  the  Bombay 
Presidency,  where  from  1870  onwards  Mafikar,  Ranade  and 
Vishnu  Sastri  Pandit  carried  on  a  vigorous  and  fruitful  agi 
tation  in  favour  of  the  remarriage  of  Hindu  widows. 

About  1870  the  movement  appeared  also  in  the  North. 
In  that  year  Syed  Ahmad  Khan  began  his  long-continued 
agitation  in  favour  of  modern  education  and  social  reform 
among  Muhammadans;  and  from  1875,  when  the  Arya 
Samaj  was  founded,  we  must  also  reckon  Dayananda  as 
helping  the  cause  of  reform  along  certain  lines.  He  not 
only  condemned  idolatry  but  opposed  child-marriage  and 
favoured  female  education.  His  crusade  against  caste  was 
more  nominal  than  real. 

From  1880  onwards  the  great  mass  movements  of  the 
Depressed  Classes  towards  Christianity  began.1  These 
have  not  only  added  hundreds  of  thousands  to  the  Chris 
tian  Church,  but  have  powerfully  affected  thinking  men  of 
all  religions  throughout  India,  and  have  started  movements 
of  untold  significance  among  Brahmas,  Aryas,  Hindus  and 
Muhammadans. 

In  1887  the  first  Widows'  Home  organized  by  a  Hindu  was 
opened  by  Sasipada  Banerjea  at  Barahanagar  near  Calcutta. 
In  the  same  year  B.  M.  Malabari,  a  Parsee,  published  a 
large  pamphlet  entitled  Infant  Marriage  and  Enforced 
Widowhood  in  India.  This  pamphlet,  with  its  unsparing 
criticism  and  its  great  array  of  weighty  names,  roused  wide 
spread  discussion,  and  did  much  to  move  public  opinion. 
It  was  largely  as  a  result  of  this  agitation  that  the  Govern- 
1  See  above,  p.  366. 


3QO     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

ment  of  India  felt  free  to  pass,  in  1891,  their  Age  of  Consent 
Act,  whereby  cohabitation  with  a  wife  under  the  age  of 
twelve  is  prohibited.  It  has  been  found  impossible  to  en 
force  the  Act  with  anything  like  strictness;  but  it  has 
proved  distinctly  helpful  in  more  ways  than  one. 

Meanwhile  social  reformers  had  organized  themselves 
and  had  met  in  1888,  for  the  first  time,  in  the  National 
Social  Conference,  which  since  that  date  has  formed  the 
centre  of  much  social  effort  and  has  proved  a  powerful 
agent  for  the  formation  of  public  opinion.  A  few  facts 
about  its  history  are  given  below. 

From  about  1890  onwards  one  can  trace  the  influence  of 
a  large  number  of  organizations  in  social  matters.  Most 
of  these  new  bodies  are  exceedingly  conservative,  the 
Ramakrishna  Mission,  the  Sectarian  movements,  whether 
Hindu,  Jain  or  Muhammadan,  and  the  Caste  Conferences ; 
yet  every  one  of  them  does  something  to  promote  female 
education  and  to  raise  the  age  of  the  marriage  of  girls. 
Even  the  ultra  conservative  Nambutlri  Brahmans  of  Tra- 
vancore  are  beginning  to  move. 

Since  the  opening  of  the  new  century  there  has  been  a 
notable  increase  in  earnest  attempts  to  render  social  ser 
vice  to  the  most  needy.  The  Ramakrishna  Mission  has 
not  only  given  itself  to  education  but  to  medical  work  and 
to  flood  and  famine  relief.  The  Arya  Samaj  has  also  done 
great  work  in  famine  relief.  But  the  most  important  or 
ganizations  are  the  various  societies,  Brahma,  Arya,  Hindu, 
Muslim,  which  are  seeking  to  help  the  Depressed  Classes, 
the  many  new  Widows'  Homes,  the  Seva  Sadan  and  Mr. 
Gokhale's  Servants  of  India  Society. 


LITERATURE.  —  The  Administration  of  the  East  India  Company, 
by  J.  W.  Kaye,  London,  Bentley,  1853  (describes  the  great  reforms). 
The  Suppression  of  Human  Sacrifice,  Suttee  and  Female  Infanticide, 


SOCIAL  REFORM  AND   SERVICE  391 

Madras,  C.  L.  S.  I.,  1898,  i\  as.  (abridged  from  Kaye).  Confes 
sions  of  a  Thug,  by  Meadows  Taylor,  London,  Triibner,  is.  Rambles 
and  Recollections,  by  W.  H.  Sleeman,  Oxford  University  Press,  73.  6d. 
net.  Social  Reform  in  Bengal,  by  S.  N.  Tattvabhushana,  Calcutta.  In 
fant  Marriage  and  Enforced  Widowhood  in  India,  by  B.  M.  Malabari, 
Bombay,  1887.  Religious  and  Social  Reform,  by  M.  G.  Ranade, 
Bombay,  Claridge,  1902.  The  Speeches  and  Writings  of  Sir  N.  G. 
Chandavarkar,  Bombay,  1911,  Rs.  2  as.  8. 

2.  THE  NATIONAL  SOCIAL  CONFERENCE 

It  was  the  Bombay  Presidency,  and,  in  the  main,  the 
Prarthana  Samaj,  that  created  the  new  movement.  The 
earliest  Social  Reform  Association  was  formed  in  Sind  in 
1882.  The  National  Social  Conference  was  organized  and 
met  for  the  first  time  at  Madras  in  I888.1  The  real  leader 
was  Mr.  M.  G.  Ranade,  but,  with  his  usual  modesty,  he 
remained  as  much  in  the  background  as  possible.  Sir  T. 
Madhava  Rao  presided  at  the  first  Conference,  and  after 
wards  the  most  prominent  place  was  usually  taken  by  Rai 
Bahadur  Raghunath  Rao,2  a  Hindu  belonging  to  the  Madras 
Presidency,  who  had  been  Prime  Minister  of  the  State  of 
Indore,  and  was  older  than  Ranade.  The  methods  of  the 
Conference  are  practically  the  same  as  those  in  use  in  the 
Congress.  Representatives  meet  from  every  part  of  India. 
The  subjects  on  the  agenda  are  discussed,  and  resolutions  are 
passed.  The  Conference  usually  meets  in  the  same  city  as 
the  Congress,  and  just  after  it.  At  the  close  of  the  Confer 
ence  the  members  usually  dine  together,  irrespective  of 
caste,  race  and  religious  distinctions.  While  a  few  Muham- 
madans  and  others  attend,  the  great  majority  of  those  who 
take  part  in  the  Conference  are  Hindus;  and  the  whole 
policy  of  the  movement  tends  to  be  Hindu  in  its  affinities 
and  interests.3  The  following  set  of  resolutions  passed  in 

1  Ranade,  Essays,  179.        2  This  leader  died  in  1912.    ISR.,  XXII,  422. 
3  See  Resolution  XI,  below. 


392      MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

the  Conference  held  at  Allahabad  in  December,  1910,  will 
give  some  idea  of  its  interests  and  work : 1 

I.  (a)  That  in  the  opinion  of  this  Conference  greater  and 
more  persistent  efforts  should  be  made  by  the  edu 
cated  community  themselves  to  promote  the  Edu 
cation  of  Women.  That  with  a  view  to  give  effect 
to  this  recommendation  this  Conference  is  of  opin 
ion  that  a  larger  number  of  schools  should  be 
opened  in  towns  and  that  a  graduated  series  of 
text  books  be  prepared  for  use  in  such  schools  and 
that  local  Committees  be  appointed  to  collect 
funds  and  to  establish  and  conduct  such  schools. 
(b)  That  this  Conference  while  appreciating  the  help 
which  Government  has  extended  to  the  cause  of  the 
Education  of  Women  in  this  country  is  of  opinion 
that  the  proportion  of  expenditure  on  the  Educa 
tion  of  Women  is  much  less  than  it  should  be  and 
it  earnestly  prays  that  Government  may  be  pleased 
to  spend  a  larger  proportion  of  revenues  under  this 
head. 

II.  That  this  Conference  strongly  recommends  that  every 
effort  should  be  made  to  persuade  parents  not  to  marry 
their  boys  before  the  age  of  25  and  their  girls  before  16. 

III.  This  Conference  is  of  opinion  that  the  time  has  come 

when  steps  should  be  taken  to  abolish  the  parda  system. 

IV.  That  this  Conference  welcomes  the  efforts  that  are  being 

made  in  several  parts  of  the  country  to  raise  the  moral, 
material  and  social  condition  of  the  depressed  classes, 
and  urges  that  further  efforts  be  made  to  obtain  for 
these  classes  full  recognition  as  an  integral  part  of  the 
general  body  of  the  community. 

V.  That  this  Conference  records  its  opinion  that  no  attempt 
should  be  made  in  the  census  to  introduce  artificial  dis 
tinctions  among  classes  recognized  as  belonging  to  our 
community  and  in  this  connection  views  with  great 
1 ISR.,  XXI,  221. 


SOCIAL  REFORM  AND   SERVICE  393 

concern  the  recent  circular  issued  by  Mr.  Gait  regard 
ing  the  depressed  classes. 

VI.  That  the  miserable  condition  of  young  widows  should  be 
improved  by  starting  or  further  strengthening  Widows' 
Homes  in  each  province,  by  giving  young  widows 
technical  education  and  permitting  such  of  them  as 
wish  to  marry  to  do  so  without  let  or  hindrance. 

VII.  That  this  Conference  is  of  opinion  that  the  requirements 
of  Act  III  of  1872  of  repudiation  of  religious  belief  on 
the  part  of  parties  to  marriage  is  unnecessary  and  inex 
pedient,  and  urges  that  the  law  be  so  amended  as  to 
omit  this  undue  interference  with  religious  beliefs. 

VIII.  That  every  effort  should  be  made  to  induce  sub-castes  of 
the  same  caste  to  interdine  and  intermarry. 

IX.  That  a  working  fund  be  established  for  the  organization 
of  the  annual  Social  Conference  for  collecting  and 
publishing  its  proceedings  and  for  carrying  on  the 
necessary  office  work  during  the  year. 

X.  That  this  Conference  reiterates  the  resolution  passed  at 
previous  Conferences  urging  on  all  social  reform  bodies 
the  necessity  of  strenuous  effort's  in  favour  of  temper 
ance  and  social  purity,  and  regrets  the  action  of  the 
exhibition  authorities  to  allow  a  dancing  girl  to  per 
form  within  the  precincts. 

XI.  That  in  the  opinion  of  this  Conference  it  is  a  pressing  duty 
of  the  Hindu  community  to  provide  facilities  for  the 
re-admission  of  repentant  converts. 

XII.  That  all  obstructions  to  the  re-admission  of  foreign 
returned  Indians  be  removed. 

XIII.  That  in  the  opinion  of  this  Conference  it  is  urgently 
necessary  that  there  should  be  some  legislation  control 
ling  the  administration  and  management  of  charitable 
and  religious  trusts  which  as  experience  has  proved 
have  been  utterly  mismanaged  by  their  trustees. 


394     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

The  year  1897  marks  a  further  advance  in  the  move 
ment.  Two  permanent  provincial  organizations  for  fur 
thering  social  reform  arose  that  year,  The  Bombay  Presi 
dency  Social  Reform  Association,  and  The  Madras  Hindu 
Social  Reform  Association.  These  bodies  at  once  began  to 
hold  annual  Provincial  Conferences.1  In  1900  Bengal  fol 
lowed  suit.2  These  provincial  assemblies,  which  are  usually 
held  at  the  same  time  and  place  as  the  provincial  gatherings 
for  political  purposes,  have  proved  extremely  useful.  Dis 
tances  are  so  great  in  India  that  it  is  very  hard  to  gather  men 
from  every  quarter  for  a  Conference,  but  the  problem  is 
much  easier  in  a  province.  Local  conferences  are  also  held 
representing  single  districts  or  other  sections  of  the  country. 
The  first  of  these  were  also  held  in  1897,  in  the  Godavery 
and  Mangalore  districts.3  Wherever  a  group  of  the  friends 
of  freedom  and  progress  happen  to  be,  there  it  is  compara 
tively  easy  to  hold  a  social  conference. 

Since  1904  an  Indian  Ladies'  Conference  (B karat  Mahila 
Parishad)  has  been  held  at  the  same  time  and  place  as  the 
National  Social  Conference,  to  discuss  subjects  affecting 
women's  life.  The  following  Resolutions  were  passed  in 
Hindi  at  the  seventh  Conference  held  at  Allahabad  at 
Christmas,  1910 : 

1 .  That  in  the  opinion  of  this  Conference  the  best  way  of  the 
advancement  of  the  country  is  female  education  and  the  Con 
ference  requests  all  Indians  to  make  arrangements  for  spreading 
female  education. 

2.  That  in  the  opinion  of  this  Conference  it  is  not  enough  to 
teach  girls  reading  and  writing.     They  ought  to  be  taught  how 
to  manage  the  household,  how  to  attend  a  sick  person,  sewing, 
etc. 

3.  That  in  the  opinion  of  this  Conference  child-marriage  is 

1  Ranade,  Essays,  165-6,  279.     Cf.  for  Bombay,  ISR.,  XX,  136,  148, 
292,  304;  XXII,  375 ;  and  Madras,  ISR.,  XIX,  580;  XX,  375,  462. 

2  See  ISR.,  XXII,  44.  3  Ranade,  Essays,  165. 


SOCIAL  REFORM  AND   SERVICE  395 

the  root  of  all  evils.    It  is  the  duty  of  the  well-wishers  of  the 
country  to  remove  this  evil. 

4.  That  this  Conference  is  of  opinion  that  it  is  absolutely 
necessary  to  lessen  the  rigour  of  the  parda. 

5.  That  this  Conference  thinks  that  the  children  should  not 
be  made  to  wear  ornaments. 

6.  That  the  condition  of  Hindu  widows  is  pitiable,  and  in 
order  to  save  them  from  many  troubles  it  is  necessary  to  open 
Widows'  Homes  where  they  can  be  educated. 

Ladies  have  also  met  in  conference  in  a  few  provincial 
centres  in  recent  years,  notably  Benares,1  Guntur,2  Vizia- 
nagram 3  and  Travancore.4 

In  1890  The  Indian  Social  Reformer,  a  twelve-page  weekly 
in  English,  began  to  appear.  Its  office  is  in  Bombay.  Its 
editor,  Mr.  K.  Natarajan,  belongs  to  the  Madras  Presidency. 
The  paper  has  had  a  very  honourable  record.  It  stands 
for  religion,  for  morality,  for  social  and  political  progress, 
and  has  consistently  maintained  a  courageous  and  manly 
policy.  Its  influence  as  an  encouragement  to  social  re 
formers  in  small  places,  where  orthodox  opposition  is 
fierce  and  powerful,  must  be  very  great. 

3.  FEMALE  INFANTICIDE 

As  British  rule  was  extended  in  India,  administrators 
discovered,  to  their  horror,  that  female  infanticide  prevailed 
to  a  most  alarming  extent  in  the  Centre  and  the  West.  In 
some  villages  there  was  scarcely  a  girl  to  be  seen ;  in  others 
there  were  four  or  five  times  as  many  boys  as  girls,  all  the 
rest  having  been  destroyed.  Under  Lord  Bentinck  admin 
istrative  action  was  taken  to  put  down  the  inhuman  practice. 
The  crusade  took  many  years ;  and  even  now  there  may  be 
some  places  where  it  is  still  secretly  practised ;  but  on  the 

1 ISR.,  XX,  439.  3  Ibf)  xxi,  222. 

2  Ib->  XX,  498.  i  Ibf>  XXIII,  161. 


396     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

whole  it  has  been  stamped  out,  and  no  Indian  would  wish 
to  see  it  revived. 

4.  CHILD-MARRIAGE 

The  Hindu  law  since  about  500  B.C.  has  been  that  the 
father  who  does  not  marry  his  daughter  before  the  menses 
appear  commits  sin ;  and  since  the  Christian  era,  if  not 
earlier,  the  law  has  been  held  to  be  a  serious  religious  ob 
ligation  and  has  been  almost  universally  obeyed.1 

Christian  influence  began  to  make  itself  felt  early  in  the 
nineteenth  century,  and  bore  fruit  among  the  Parsees  in 
Bombay,  in  the  Brahma  Samaj  under  Keshab  Chandra 
Sen  and  in  the  Arya  Samaj  under  Dayananda.  B.  M. 
Malabari,  a  Parsee  journalist,  started  in  1884  an  agitation 
on  child-marriage  and  widow-celibacy  which  convulsed 
Hindu  society,  and  deeply  influenced  public  opinion.  He 
wished  Government  to  take  action,  especially  in  the  matter 
of  child-marriage.2  His  pamphlet,  containing  the  opinions 
of  many  prominent  Hindus  and  Government  officials,  was 
published  in  i88y.3  Much  useful  discussion  was  provoked. 
Missionaries  supported  him  warmly  throughout  the  country. 
Soon,  a  case  occurred,  which  proved  conclusively  how 
serious  the  matter  was  becoming : 

Public  attention  was  called  to  the  matter  by  the  case  of 
Rukhmabai  in  Bombay,  a  case  which  showed  that  relief  was 
demanded  not  for  Christian  girls  alone,  but  for  Hindu  girls  as 
well.  Rukhmabai  was  a  Hindu  girl,  educated  in  the  Free 
Church  Mission  School  and  afterwards  as  a  Zenana  pupil.  She 
was  clever  and  accomplished,  and  the  man,  Dadaji  by  name,  to 
whom  she  had  been  married  in  infancy,  being  repulsive  and 
illiterate,  she  refused  to  live  with  him.  He  appealed  to  the  law 
to  compel  her  to  do  so.  The  case  was  carried  from  court  to 
court,  till  the  High  Court  ordered  Rukhmabai  either  to  live  with 

1  Crown  of  Hinduism,  94-96.  2  Ranade,  Essays,  xxiv  ff. 

3  See  p.  389,  above. 


SOCIAL  REFORM  AND  SERVICE  397 

Dadaji  as  his  wife  or  go  to  prison  for  six  months.  A  compromise, 
however,  was  then  effected.  A  sum  of  money,  sufficient  to  buy 
another  wife,  was  paid  to  Dadaji.  But  it  was  decreed  that, 
according  to  Hindu  law,  Rukhmabai  must  never  marry.  She 
went  to  London  to  study  medicine,  took  the  degree  of  M.D., 
and  returned  to  India  to  take  charge  of  a  hospital  for  women.1 

In  1890  a  tragic  occurrence  brought  another  aspect  of  the 
subject  forcibly  before  the  minds  of  all  men.  A  Bengali 
girl,  named  Phulmani  Dasi,  eleven  years  of  age,  died  in 
Calcutta  in  consequence  of  what  in  all  other  civilized  coun 
tries  would  be  described  as  an  outrage  on  the  part  of  her 
husband,  who  was  a  man  of  thirty.  He  was  arrested  and 
tried  for  culpable  homicide.  The  only  defence  he  made  was 
to  quote  the  clause  in  the  Penal  Code  which  fixed  the  age 
of  ten  years  as  the  lowest  limit  for  married  life.  Yet  he  was 
convicted,  and  sentenced  to  twelve  months'  rigorous  im 
prisonment.  The  consequence  was  a  loud  outcry  from  the 
orthodox  community.  They  complained  that  it  was  utterly 
unjust  to  punish  a  man  for  doing  what  was  prescribed  by 
his  religion  and  distinctly  permitted  by  law. 

The  case  caused  great  indignation  in  Christian  circles. 
Europeans  demanded,  in  the  words  of  Max  Miiller,  "that 
the  strong  arm  of  the  English  law  be  not  rendered  infamous 
by  aiding  and  abetting  unnatural  atrocities."  There  was 
a  loud  cry  that  the  age  should  be  raised,  and  that  the  pen 
alty  should  be  increased.  The  Government  of  India  there 
fore  introduced  a  bill  into  the  Legislative  Council,  raising 
the  age  from  ten  to  twelve. 

The  Bill  roused  the  most  violent  opposition  amongst 
Hindus.  The  following  sentences  give  some  idea  of  the 
excitement  and  fury  raised  by  the  proposal : 

Never  before,  within  living  memory,  had  Bengal  been  so 
agitated.     Crowds  of  excited  Hindus  paraded  the  streets  all 
1  Kenneth  S,  Macdonald,  183-4. 


398     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

day  and  far  into  the  night,  yelling  at  the  pitch  of  their  voices, 
"Our  religion  is  in  danger."  Those  who  were  still  sane  enough 
to  argue  protested  that  the  Bill  was  an  infringement  of  the 
Queen's  Proclamation  of  1858,  by  which  she  pledged  her  Gov 
ernment  to  a  policy  of  non-interference  with  the  religions  of  her 
Indian  subjects.  ...  A  monster  meeting  of  protest  was  held 
on  the  maidan,  for  no  public  building  in  Calcutta  would  accom 
modate  all  those  who  wished  to  be  present.  The  attendance 
was  estimated  at  one  hundred  thousand,  and  speeches  were 
delivered  from  twelve  platforms.  ...  No  such  public  demon 
stration  had  ever  been  seen  in  Calcutta.  When  it  became 
apparent  that  the  appeals  to  the  Government  of  India  and  to 
the  Secretary  of  State  were  in  vain,  it  was  resolved  as  a  last 
resort  to  make  a  supreme  effort  to  move  Kali,  the  patron  goddess 
of  Calcutta,  to  intervene.  A  mahapuja,  or  whole  day  of  fasting, 
prayer  and  sacrifice  was  proclaimed  at  Kalighat,  the  great  shrine 
of  this  popular  deity,  in  one  of  the  suburbs  of  Calcutta.  ...  It 
was  estimated  at  the  time  that  two  hundred  thousand  rupees 
(over  £13,000)  were  spent  on  the  ceremony.  Three  hundred 
pundits,  many  of  whom  had  been  brought  from  Benares,  led  the 
devotions.  One  devotee  wished  to  sacrifice  himself  upon  the 
altar,  and  was  with  difficulty  restrained  from  his  purpose. 
Others,  like  the  priests  of  Baal,  cut  themselves  with  knives.1 

But  Government  passed  the  Bill  in  spite  of  all  protests. 
The  date  was  1891.  Those  who  are  best  able  to  judge  be 
lieve  that  it  has  had  a  good  effect ;  but  it  is  quite  well 
known  that  the  law  is  still  broken  in  multitudes  of  cases. 

About  twenty  years  ago  Colonel  Walter,  then  Agent  to 
the  Governor-General  in  Rajputana,  suggested  to  the 
leaders  of  Rajput  society  an  arrangement  which  has  pro 
duced  excellent  results.  By  the  unanimous  decision  of  these 
men  it  was  decided  that  no  girl  should  be  married  before 
she  was  fourteen,  and  that  the  marriage  expenses  should 
in  no  case  exceed  a  certain  proportion  of  the  father's  yearly 
income.  A  society,  called  the  Walterkrit  Rajputra  Hita- 

*  Kenneth  S.  Macdonald,  188-9. 


SOCIAL  REFORM  AND   SERVICE  399 

karini  Sabha  (the  Rajput  Benevolent  Society  created  by 
Colonel  Walter)  sees  to  the  enforcement  of  these  rules.  It 
would  be  well  if  similar  institutions  could  be  introduced 
elsewhere.1 

In  1901  the  Gaekwar  of  Baroda  passed  the  Infant  Mar 
riage  Prevention  Act,  which  fixed  the  minimum  age  for 
marriage  in  the  State  at  twelve  for  girls  and  sixteen  for  boys. 
Early  in  1912  the  Census  Commissioner  of  Baroda  pub 
lished  his  impressions  of  the  results  of  the  act.  The  Times 
of  India  thus  summarizes  his  views : 

In  the  ten  years  under  review  no  less  than  22,218  applications 
were  made  for  exemption  from  the  provisions  of  the  Act  and 
95  per  cent  of  them  were  allowed.  Over  23,000  marriages  were 
performed  even  without  this  formality  of  an  application  for 
exemption,  in  violation  of  the  Act.  The  parties  responsible 
were  fined  from  a  few  to  a  hundred  rupees,  and  the  Superintend 
ent  thinks  that  there  must  have  been  an  equally  large  number 
of  marriages  which  were  connived  at  by  the  village  patels  who 
are  also  the  marriage  registrars.  The  age  returns  are  notori 
ously  unreliable,  but  even  thus  there  were  158  per  thousand 
males  and  277  per  thousand  females  married  and  widowed, 
under  10  years  of  age. 

Clearly  the  act  is  much  too  far  in  advance  of  the  public 
conscience. 

A  certain  amount  of  progress  has  been  achieved  in  this 
matter  as  a  result  of  these  acts  and  of  the  persistent  agita 
tion  of  the  reformers ;  but  it  is  universally  recognized  that 
the  mass  of  Hindu  society  has  been  scarcely  touched  as  yet. 

5.  BOY-MARRIAGE 

In  ancient  India  boys  of  the  Brahman,  Kshatriya  and 
Vaisya  castes  were  expected  to  go  to  school  for  a  religious 
education  for  an  extended  period,  and  were  married  only  on 

1  Risley,  The  People  of  India,  188. 


400     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

their  final  return  from  school.  But  for  many  centuries  the 
vast  mass  of  boys  have  not  taken  the  old  religious  training. 
Hence  nothing  has  stood  in  the  way  of  marriage;  and  in 
many  parts  of  the  country  it  has  long  been  customary  to 
marry  boys  at  the  age  of  eight,  ten  or  twelve.1 

Social  Reformers  have  appealed  powerfully  against  this 
most  unwise  custom,  and  modern  education  has  tended  to 
restrict  the  practice ;  but  the  plan  referred  to  in  the  follow 
ing  paragraph  is  probably  the  best  that  has  yet  been  thought 
of  for  dealing  with  the  difficulty : 

At  the  last  meeting  of  the  Travancore  Popular  Assembly 
Mr.  K.  G.  Sesha  Iyer  advocated  the  exclusion  of  married  boys 
from  Government  Schools.  The  Central  Hindu  College  at 
Benares  has  been  enforcing  this  exclusion  for  several  years 
past.  The  rule  ought  to  be  adopted  everywhere.  Seeing  that 
the  ancient  ideal  of  students  in  India  was  celibacy  until  educa 
tion  was  finished,  there  ought  to  be  no  opposition  from  orthodox 
Hindus.  To  prevent  any  possible  hardship  to  married  boys, 
who  are  not  responsible  for  their  marriage,  it  may  be  laid  down 
that  the  rule  will  be  enforced  five  years  hence.2 

6.  POLYGAMY 

Every  Hindu  marriage  is  in  posse  polygamous.  Though 
the  great  majority  of  Hindus  are  monogamous  in  practice, 
yet  there  is  a  law  which  allows  a  man  to  take  a  second  wife 
if  the  first  proves  childless  or  quarrelsome ;  and  from  the 
earliest  times  until  to-day  kings  and  wealthy  men  have  been 
accustomed  to  marry  many  wives.3 

Ram  Mohan  Ray  himself  had  two  wives,  when  he  was  a 
young  man;  but,  later,  under  Christian  influence,  he 
condemned  polygamy.  Social  reformers  have  continued  to 
agitate  against  the  practice,  and  public  opinion  has  been 

1  Crown  of  Hinduism,  86.  2  Modern  Review,  May,  1913. 

8  Crown  of  Hinduism,  91-93. 


SOCIAL  REFORM  AND   SERVICE  401 

partially  modified,   but  the  old  conditions  still  prevail. 
There  has  been  very  little  betterment,  except  in  the  Samajes. 

7.  WIDOWS 

About  500  B.C.  it  became  the  rule  that  only  childless 
Hindu  widows  should  marry,  and  from  about  the  time  of 
the  Christian  era,  it  has  been  the  law  that  no  Hindu  widow, 
not  even  a  virgin  child-widow,  shall  marry.1  Some  three 
or  four  centuries  later  the  practice  of  sail  became  recognized 
as  legitimate,  i.e.  when  a  man  died,  his  widow  was  allowed 
to  mount  the  pyre  and  be  burned  along  with  his  body  if 
she  wished  to  do  so.  Widows  who  did  not  mount  the  pyre 
had  thenceforward  to  live  a  life  of  serious  asceticism.  In 
many  parts  of  India  to-day,  as  soon  as  a  woman  is  widowed, 
her  hair  is  shaven  away  and  she  must  live  tonsured  all  the 
rest  of  her  life.2 

By  the  beginning  of  the  nineteenth  century  widow-burn 
ing  had  reached  huge  proportions  in  India,  especially  in 
Bengal.  The  vast  majority  of  widows  certainly  were  not 
burned ;  but  several  hundreds  actually  mounted  the  pyre 
every  year  in  Bengal  alone.  In  certain  kingdoms,  especially 
in  the  South,  a  vast  holocaust  of  women  took  place  when  the 
king  died.  Individual  Englishmen  protested  vehemently 
against  the  practice;  and  here  and  there  an  English  ad 
ministrator  took  the  law  into  his  own  hands,  and  prevented 
the  burning  of  a  widow ;  but  for  many  years  the  British 
Government  hesitated  to  interfere.  The  Serampore  mis 
sionaries  protested  very  loudly  on  the  subject  both  in  Eng 
land  and  in  India ;  and  Ram  Mohan  Ray  added  his  powerful 
voice  to  theirs.  Finally,  in  1829,  in  spite  of  the  opposition 
of  many  leading  Hindus  and  of  some  Englishmen,  Lord 
Bentinck  prohibited  the  practice  within  the  British  prov- 

1  Crown  of  Hinduism,  96-98.  2  Ib.,  98-101. 

2D 


402     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

inces.  It  was  many  years  later  before  it  was  put  down 
in  native  states. 

Perhaps  no  educated  Indian  to-day  would  wish  to  revive 
the  practice ;  for  all  now  recognize  that  it  came  into  use  at 
a  comparatively  modern  date ;  but,  even  in  these  days,  a 
Hindu  widow  occasionally  carries  out  the  old  custom  by 
burning  herself.  When  such  a  thing  happens,  the  Hindu 
community  still  thrills  with  reverence  and  sympathy.  It 
may  be  also  mentioned  that  Dr.  A.  K.  Coomaraswamy 
published  in  The  Sociological  Review  for  April,  1913,  a  paper, 
in  which  he  attempts  to  set  forth  the  essential  nature  of  the 
Hindu  ideal  of  woman,  and  he  gives  his  paper  the  title, 
Satl;  A  Defence  of  the  Indian  Woman. 

It  was  Pandit  Isvara  Chandra  Vidyasagara  who  began 
the  agitation  in  favour  of  allowing  Hindu  widows  to  remarry, 
if  they  wished  to  do  so.  The  Government  of  India  passed 
an  Act  legalizing  such  marriages  in  1856.  About  1870  an 
agitation  was  started  in  the  Bombay  Presidency  for  the 
purpose  of  rousing  Hindus  to  such  sympathy  with  widows 
as  would  make  widow-marriage  really  possible  in  Hindu 
society.1  The  Social  Reform  Movement  has  made  this  one 
of  its  main  aims,  and  has  done  a  great  deal  to  commend  the 
remarriage  of  widows  in  all  parts  of  the  country.  In  con 
sequence,  a  certain  number  of  such  marriages  do  take  place 
in  all  grades  of  Hindu  society,  and  in  most  parts  of  the 
country ;  but  they  are  exceedingly  few,  and  it  is  question 
able  whether  they  are  increasing. 

Social  reformers  have  not  done  very  much  to  lighten  the 
burden  of  suffering  which  the  widow  has  to  endure  through 
out  her  life.  Only  one  point  has  been  vehemently  attacked 
by  them,  namely,  the  tonsure.  Appeals  on  this  subject 
now  and  then  appear  in  the  columns  of  the  Indian  Social 
Reformer;  and  in  1909  a  small  volume  called  The  Ton- 

1  Ranade,  Essays,  xvii,  xviii. 


SOCIAL  REFORM  AND   SERVICE  403 

sure  of  Hindu  Widows,  by  M.  A.  Subramaniam,  B.A.,  B.L., 
was  published  in  Madras.1 

During  the  last  twenty  years  groups  of  Hindus  in  various 
parts  of  the  country  have  begun  to  maintain  Widows' 
homes  in  imitation  of  Christian  missions.  The  earliest 
Home  outside  the  Christian  Church  was  established  at 
Barahanagar  near  Calcutta  in  1887  by  Sasipada  Banerjea,2 
and  did  good  work  for  some  time ;  but  it  is  no  longer  in 
existence.  In  1889,  a  Christian  lady,  Pandita  Ramabai, 
opened  the  Sdradd  Sadan,  or  Home  of  Learning,  for  Hindu 
widows  in  Bombay.3  Soon  after  it  was  moved  to  Poona. 
But  within  a  few  years  so  many  of  the  widows  had  been 
baptized  that  Hindus  became  very  hostile.  Most  of  the 
widows  were  withdrawn,  and  Hindu  subscriptions  ceased. 
But  the  work  accomplished  was  manifestly  good  and 
necessary ;  and  Hindus  began  to  clamour  for  a  similar  in 
stitution  under  Hindu  management.  Hence  the  Hindu 
Widows'  Home  Association  was  organized  in  Poona  in  1896, 
and  a  Home  was  opened,  which  has  steadily  grown  in  strength 
and  usefulness.  During  the  year  1912  there  were  105  in 
mates  in  the  Home,  of  whom  95  were  widows.  The  annual 
expenditure  is  now  about  17,000  Rupees.4  The  whole  insti 
tution  seems  to  be  thoroughly  well  managed  by  the  founder, 
Mr.  D.  K.  Karve.  In  1906  a  Boarding  School  for  high-caste 
Hindu  girls  and  widows  was  opened  close  beside  the  Home. 
Then  in  1912  the  Nishkdma  Karma  Matha  (Monastery  for 
Unselfish  Work)  was  started  for  the  purpose  of  creating  a 
band  of  competent  women  workers  to  staff  the  Boarding 
School.  I  was  able  to  visit  these  institutions  in  February 
last,  and  was  much  struck  with  the  character  of  the  buildings 

1  Cf.  ISR.,  XX,  185,  296;  and  Indian  Review,  March,  1910. 

2  Social  Reform  in  Bengal,  12. 

3  See  The  High-caste  Hindu  Woman,  by  Pandita  Ramabai,  New  York, 
Revell.  4  Report  for  1912 ;  ISR.,  XIX,  596,  605  ;  XX,  151,  26x, 


404    MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

and  the  excellence  of  the  arrangements.  So  far  as  I  know, 
no  widows'  home  was  founded  by  Hindus  between  1896 
and  1906 ;  but  it  was  probably  during  that  interval  that 
the  Deva  Samaj,1  the  Arya  Samaj2  and  the  Digambara 
Jains 3  founded  their  homes.  I  have  seen  no  reports  of  these 
institutions,  and  do  not  know  the  dates  when  they  were 
founded.  In  1907  a  Hindu  Widows'  Home  was  founded 
in  Mysore  City;  and  in  1910  there  were  thirty-two  pupils, 
of  whom  seventeen  were  resident.  The  total  cost  was  met 
by  Rai  Bahadur  Narasimha  lyengar.4  The  same  year  the 
Mahila  Silpasrama,  or  Women's  Industrial  Refuge,  was 
founded  in  Calcutta  by  Mrs.  P.  Mukerjee,  a  niece  of  Mr. 
Rabindra  Nath  Tagore.  Over  a  dozen  widows  reside  in  it, 
and  a 'number  of  others  come  from  the  outside  to  receive 
instruction.  It  is  supported  by  public  subscription,  supple 
mented  by  Government  and  Municipal  grants.5  In  1908 
the  Sikhs  opened  their  Widows'  Home  in  Amritsar.  In 
1910  Mrs.  Pitt,  the  widow  of  an  Indian  civilian,  opened  a 
Widows'  Home  in  Bangalore,  which  is  to  be  conducted  on 
purely  Hindu  lines.  It  is  intended  to  teach  women  the 
privilege  of  social  service.6  In  1911  a  Home  was  opened  in 
Dacca  of  which  Mrs.  Dutta  is  the  Founder-Secretary.7  In 
July,  191 2, a  group  of  Hindus  organized  a  Brahman  Widows' 
Hostel  in  Madras,  and  in  September  of  that  year  the  Govern 
ment  of  Madras  undertook  the  bulk  of  the  financial  respon 
sibilities.  It  is  too  early  to  say  anything  about  the  success 
of  this  new  venture.8 

1  At  Ferozpore  and  Bhatinda. 

2  One  is  at  Jullundur.      Chirol,  Indian  Unrest,  in. 
8  In  Bombay. 

*ISR.,  XX,  522. 

5  My  informant  is  Mr.  Hem  Ch.  Sarkar  of  the  Sadharan  Brahma  Samaj. 

6 ISR.,  XXI,  26,  500. 

7  76.,  XXIV,  390. 

8  /&.,  XXIII,  532. 


SOCIAL  REFORM  AND   SERVICE  405 

8.  THE  ZENANA 

From  very  early  times  the  ladies  of  royal  harems  in 
India  lived  in  something  like  seclusion,  and  wealthy  families 
naturally  copied  kings  in  some  degree.  There  was  also  a 
great  deal  of  distrust  of  women  expressed  in  Hindu  law, 
and  men  were  therefore  bid  guard  their  women  with  great 
care.  Yet  there  was  no  general  custom  of  shutting  women 
up  in  the  house.  When,  however,  at  the  end  of  the  twelfth 
century,  the  Muhammadan  invasion  came,  two  motives 
arose  which  combined  to  make  the  Hindus  seclude  their 
women.  Their  conquerors,  who  now  held  the  highest 
social  position  in  India,  kept  their  women  shut  up  in  the 
women's  apartments;  and  it  was  natural  for  Hindus  to 
imitate  them.  Then,  in  the  wild  violence  and  lawlessness 
which  characterized  Muslim  rule  for  centuries,  Hindu 
women  were  unsafe,  unless  they  were  shut  up  and  guarded. 
Hence  all  high-caste  Hindus,  living  in  provinces  where  Mu- 
hammadans  were  numerous  and  powerful,  adopted  the 
Zenana  system.  A  high-caste  woman  to-day  very  seldom 
leaves  the  zenana.  If  she  goes  out,  it  is  in  the  dusk  of  the 
morning  or  the  evening,  and  only  for  a  hurried  visit  to 
the  temple  or  the  river.  On  occasion  she  may  go  to  the 
house  of  a  relative  for  a  wedding  or  some  other  important 
ceremony,  but,  if  she  do,  she  goes  in  a  closed  carriage  or 
palanquin.  Parsees  and  Jains  adopted  the  custom  as  well 
as  Hindus.  In  those  parts  of  the  South  where  Muham 
madan  rule  did  not  arise  or  did  not  last  long,  some  of  the 
old  freedom  still  remains;  and  the  women  of  the  lower 
orders  live  a  very  free  life. 

Christian  teaching  and  Western  example  have  made  a 
very  serious  impact  on  educated  opinion  in  this  matter; 
and  the  women  of  the  Brahma  Samaj  are  now  as  free  as 
Christian  women;  but  the  only  other  community  which 


406     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

has  stepped  out  into  full  freedom  is  the  Parsees.  But 
there  has  been  a  distinct  and  very  welcome  change  amongst 
educated  Hindus  during  the  last  twenty  years.  A  small 
but  increasing  number  in  Calcutta  and  in  Bombay  take 
their  wives  and  children  out  driving  with  them  in  the  even 
ing  ;  and  in  every  educated  centre  the  women  themselves 
are  increasingly  eager  to  meet  European  ladies  socially,  to 
gather  together  in  little  clubs  and  societies,  and  occasion 
ally  to  hold  women's  meetings  and  conferences.  One  sym 
pathizes  with  the  fear  lest  a  sudden  change  should  do 
more  harm  than  good ;  but,  without  any  doubt,  progress 
in  this  matter  might  with  safety  be  a  good  deal  accelerated. 


9.   MARRIAGE  EXPENSES 

Loud  and  bitter  complaints  are  raised  in  many  parts  of 
India  by  Hindus  about  the  extortionate  payments  de 
manded  by  the  bridegroom's  family  from  the  father  of  the 
bride.  The  evil  seems  to  be  largely  a  result  of  the  progress 
of  Western  education;  for  a  young  man  who  has  done 
well  at  College  is  a  most  desirable  bridegroom,  and  naturally 
the  price  has  tended  to  rise  as  steadily  as  the  demand. 
The  tyrannical  custom,  which  compels  a  father  to  spend 

mge  sums  upon  feasting,  processions  and  presents  to 
Brahmans  on  the  occasion  of  a  daughter's  wedding,  presses 
very  heavily  on  the  poor.  Most  fathers  are  driven  to 

>orrow  huge  sums,  and,  in  consequence,  pass  the  remainder 
of  their  lives  in  bondage  and  fear. 

Reformers  have  tried  to  mitigate  these  evils,  but  noth 
ing  very  substantial,  except  the  action  of  the  Walterkrit 
Sabha,1  has  to  be  chronicled.  Quite  recently  in  Calcutta, 
a  father  could  see  no  way  to  raise  money  for  his  daughter's 
marriage  except  by  mortgaging  his  home.  The  daughter, 

1  Above,  p.  398. 


SOCIAL  REFORM  AND  SERVICE  407 

whose  name  was  Snehalata,  burned  herself  to  death  in 
her  own  room  to  release  her  father  from  the  impasse.1 
Her  suicide  roused  intense  feeling,  and  meetings  were  held 
to  move  public  opinion,  but  with  what  result  has  still  to 
be  seen. 

10.  DOMESTIC  CEREMONIES 

In  ancient  Hindu  Law-books  twelve  domestic  samskdras 
or  sacraments,  are  enumerated  as  binding  on  every  Hindu 
of  the  Brahman,  Kshatriya  and  Vaisya  castes,  and  the 
details  of  the  ceremonies  are  laid  down  in  priestly  manuals. 
Each  is  filled  with  polytheistic  ideas  and  idolatrous  prac 
tices  ;  so  that  modern  men  are  inclined  to  object  to  them. 
Debendranath  Tagore  prepared  a  new  set  of  ceremonies 
for  Brahmas  from  which  everything  idolatrous  was  ex 
cluded,  and  Keshab  carried  the  process  still  farther.2 
The  other  Samajes  have  followed  suit,  but  orthodoxy  re 
mains  orthodox. 

ii.  DEVADASIS  (HIERODOULOI) 

In  Hindu  literature  of  all  ages,  even  in  the  Rigveda  itself, 
wherever  references  to  heaven  occur,  we  find  very  frequent 
mention  of  the  Gandharvas  and  the  Apsarases,  the  former 
being  male  musicians,  the  latter  female  dancers  and  singers. 
The  Apsarases  are  equally  famed  for  their  dazzling  beauty 
and  their  easy  morals.  When  some  human  ascetic  carried 
his  austerities  to  such  a  pitch  that  the  merit  due  to  him 
threatened  to  endanger  the  gods,  the  regular  expedient 
was  to  send  down  one  of  these  irresistible  nymphs  to  draw 
him  away  from  his  self-torture. 

This  is  probably  a  reflection  of  the  customs  of  Hindu 
Kings.  Each  had  a  troop  of  male  musicians  in  his  resi- 

1 ISR.,  Feb.  i5th,  1914,  210.    Two  other  cases  followed.    ISR.,  May  i7th. 
2  Above,  pp.  41,  43,  48. 


408     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

dence  and  companies  of  dancing  and  singing  women  of 
rather  loose  character.  This  custom  is  still  kept  up  by 
Hindu  princes.1 

Every  well-appointed  Hindu  temple  aims  at  being  an 
earthly  reproduction  of  the  paradise  of  the  god  in  whose 
honour  it  was  built.  He  and  his  spouse  or  spouses  are 
there  in  stone,  also  his  mount,  his  car,  and  all  else  that  he 
needs.  The  Gandharvas  are  represented  by  the  Temple- 
band,  the  Apsarases  by  the  courtesans  who  sing  and  dance 
in  the  service.  These  are  dedicated  to  the  service  of  the 
god ;  but  they  give  their  favours  to  his  worshippers.  They 
are  usually  called  Devaddsis ,  handmaidens  of  the  god, 
Hierodouloi;  but  in  the  Bombay  Presidency  each  shrine 
has  its  own  name  for  its  women,  Muralis,  Jogavins,  Bhavi- 
nis,  Naikinis,  Kalawantis,  Basavis,2  Devaddsis,  Devalis, 
Jogtis,  Matangis,  Sharnis,  Muralis  being  used  in  a  general 
way  for  all.3  They  dance  and  sing  in  the  temple-services 
and  also  when  the  images  are  carried  out  through  the 
town  in  procession.  Hence  the  common  name  for  them 
everywhere  is  Nautch-girls,  Dancing-girls.  The  songs 
they  sing  are  usually  obscene.  They  receive  certain  allow 
ances  from  the  temple.  Until  recently  they  lived  within 
the  temple  precincts,  but  now  they  usually  occupy  some 
street  or  lane  close  by.  In  North  India  they  are  not  per 
manently  attached  to  the  temple.  They  live  in  the  bazaar, 
practise  music  and  dancing,  and  ply  their  trade.  The 
temple-authorities  hire  as  many  as  they  require  for  each 
occasion.  In  some  temples  in  the  Bombay  Presidency 
there  are  male  prostitutes  also. 

How  foul  the  atmosphere  is  in  which  this  custom  thrives 
may  be  realized  from  the  hideous  sculpture  visible  on  the 

1  V.  Smith's  Asoka,  89. 

2  Cf.  Dubois,  133. 

3  Shinde's  Muralis,  2 ;  ISR.,  XXIII,  606. 


SOCIAL  REFORM  AND   SERVICE  409 

gates  and  walls  of  many  Hindu  temples  in  Central  and 
Southern  India  and  from  the  following  quotation : 

And  then  again,  it  is  not  that  only  females  are  dedicated  to 
the  temples  but  also  males  who  are  called  Waghyas  of  Khandoba; 
Aradhyes  of  Ambabai,  Potrajas  of  Dyamawwa,  Jogyas  of 
Yallamma,  and  who  are  forbidden  to  marry  or  to  live  the  ordi 
nary  civil  life  and  therefore  lead  a  more  or  less  dissolute  life. 
Their  number  however  is  not  so  considerable  as  that  of  the  female 
victims  nor  is  their  looseness  so  noticeable.  There  is  a  third 
class  of  devotees,  who  are  neither  male  nor  female  but  are  mostly 
eunuchs.  These  hideous  beings  are  more  indecent  than  im 
moral  and  they  naturally  follow  the  trade  of  procurers,  pimps, 
and  such  other  disgusting  and  un-natural  practices.  Whether 
they  are  for  some  wicked  purpose  castrated  or  born  defective 
and  how  they  come  to  be  connected  with  the  temples  cannot  be 
said ;  but  they  are  generally  connected  with  the  temples  of  the 
female  deities  Ambabai  and  Yallamma.  Quite  a  number  of 
them  might  be  seen  at  any  time  loitering  and  dancing  about 
the  little  temple  of  Bolai  near  the  Sassoon  Hospital  in  Poona.1 

Courtesan  ministrants,  in  precisely  similar  fashion,  lived 
in  the  temples  of  Babylonia,  Syria  and  Egypt,  and  took 
part  in  the  ritual ;  and  thence  the  custom  spread  to  Cyprus, 
the  Greek  islands  and  elsewhere.  The  Greek  name  for 
them  was  Hierodouloi,  Sacred  Slaves.2 

To  these  facts  is  due  the  low  estimate  in  which  music 
and  dancing,  especially  the  latter,  have  been  held  in  most 
countries  of  the  East.  Salome  degraded  herself  to  the 
level  of  a  courtesan  in  dancing  before  Herod.  The  culti 
vation  of  music  and  dancing  has  never  been  a  respectable 
art  in  India,  but  has  always  been  left  to  Nautch-girls.3 

A  century  ago  these  women  were  much  more  in  the 
public  eye  in  India  than  they  are  to-day.  L'Abbe  Dubois 
writes : 4 

1  Shinde's  Muralis,  4.  3  Dubois,  337. 

2  Art.  Hierodouloi,  ERE.  *  585. 


410     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

Their  duties,  however,  are  not  confined  to  religious  cere 
monies.  Ordinary  politeness  requires  that  when  persons  of 
any  distinction  make  formal  visits  to  each  other  they  must  be 
accompanied  by  a  certain  number  of  these  courtezans.  To 
dispense  with  them  would  show  a  want  of  respect  towards  the 
person  visited,  whether  the  visit  was  one  of  duty  or  politeness. 

Hindus  have  also  been  accustomed  to  hire  them  to  dance 
and  sing  in  their  houses  at  weddings,  on  other  festive  occa 
sions,  and  even  when  entertaining  European  officials : 
their  dancing  and  singing  have  been  part  of  the  programme, 
like  the  performances  of  jugglers. 

Missionaries  have  long  protested  in  the  name  of  morality 
and  decency  against  the  whole  system,  and  have  especially 
begged  that  European  officials  should  give  no  countenance 
to  such  a  thing.  Brahmas  and  social  reformers  have 
joined  in  these  protests.  The  presence  of  these  women  at 
the  temple-services  and  in  the  great  processions  leads  to  a 
great  deal  of  vice  among  young  Hindus ;  and  their  intro 
duction  into  the  homes  of  the  people  on  festive  occasions 
has  done  endless  harm.  Their  gestures  in  dancing  are 
lewd  and  suggestive;  and  their  songs  are  immoral  and 
obscene.  Many  a  man  has  spoken  of  the  dire  results  such 
exhibitions  have  upon  the  young. 

Western  example  and  education  have  had  their  influence 
upon  the  coarsest  parts  of  Hinduism.  The  frightful 
obscenities  which  we  hear  about  from  eighteenth-century 
writers  have  almost  altogether  disappeared.  What  remains 
is  bad  enough,  it  is  true ;  but  the  grossest  things  have  been 
removed.  Dancing  girls  are  much  less  prominent  in  the 
temples  of  the  West  and  the  North  than  they  used  to  be. 

Lord  Wenlock,  who  was  Governor  of  Madras  from  1891 
to  1896,  was  the  first  prominent  official  who  distinctly 
refused  to  countenance  the  nautch.1  His  example  has 

1  Kenneth  S.  Macdonald,  71. 


SOCIAL  REFORM  AND  SERVICE  411 

proved  very  powerful:  so  that  nowadays  one  seldom  hears 
of  an  English  official  consenting  to  be  present  on  any  occa 
sion  when  dancing-girls  are  present.  The  majority  of 
educated  Hindus  have  also  given  up  the  custom  of  having 
them  in  their  homes  at  weddings  and  such  like.  This  is  a 
reform  of  very  great  value  indeed ;  and  we  may  trust  that 
in  future  things  will  go  still  further. 

In  many  parts  of  the  country  it  is  customary  to  marry 
a  girl  to  an  idol,  a  flower,  a  sword  or  some  other  material 
object,  in  order  that  she  may  be  free  from  the  entangle 
ments  of  a  genuine  marriage. 

In  the  year  1906  a  large  body  of  gentlemen,  including 
many  Hindus,  approached  the  Governor  of  Bombay,  call 
ing  his  attention  to  the  whole  practice  of  divine  marriage, 
and  praying  that  measures  might  be  taken  by  the  Govern 
ment  to  put  down  the  dedication  of  girls  to  prostitution. 
The  following  is  a  brief  statement : 

The  Memorialists  ask  that  the  attention  of  the  Police  shall  be 
called  to  the  infrequency  of  prosecution,  and  that  they  shall  be 
directed  to  show  greater  vigilance  in  bringing  offenders  to  account- 
They  request  that  public  notices  shall  be  posted  in  many  places, 
and  especially  at  Jejuri,  where  the  temple  of  Khandoba  enjoys 
an  infamous  pre-eminence  in  this  destruction  of  innocent  children  ; 
and  that  temple-authorities  shall  be  warned  of  their  liability  to 
prosecution  as  accessories  to  crime,  if  they  permit  such  cere 
monies  to  take  place  within  the  precincts  of  the  temple.1 

In  the  following  year  the  Bombay  Government  issued  a 
resolution  on  the  subject.  They  feel  the  need  of  action 
but  recognize  that  it  is  impossible  to  do  much  until  public 
opinion  is  riper.  They  promise,  however,  to  prosecute 
temple-authorities  who  take  part  in  the  dedication  of 
girls ;  and  they  suggest  that  the  Hindu  community  should 

1  Harvest  Field,  June,  1906. 


412     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

provide  orphanages  or  homes  in  which  girls  rescued  by 
Government  may  be  placed.1 

Two  years  later  Sir  George  Clarke,  Governor  of  Bombay, 
issued  a  proclamation,  calling  the  attention  of  District 
Magistrates  to  the  powers  of  the  law  and  to  the  necessity 
of  enforcing  them  seriously.2 

The  Mysore  Government  next  took  action.  In  1909 
they  issued  an  order,  in  which  they  prohibit  the  performance 
of  any  religious  ceremony  which  has  an  intimate  connection 
with  dedication  to  the  profession  of  a  prostitute  or  dancing- 
girl.  This  prohibition  applies  to  every  temple  under  the 
control  of  the  Mysore  Government.3  About  the  same  time, 
the  head  of  the  Sankesvara  monastery,  a  modern  repre 
sentative  of  Sankaracharya,  issued  an  order  in  which  he 
declares  that  the  custom  of  dedicating  girls  has  not  the 
sanction  of  any  sacred  book  of  the  Hindus,  and  therefore 
must  be  put  a  stop  to.4  Later  still  the  Travancore  Govern 
ment  took  the  matter  up.5 

But  though  the  movement  has  thus  made  considerable 
progress,  there  are  those  who  oppose  it  for  various  reasons.6 
The  first  of  these  is  the  fear  that  the  musical  art  may 
suffer  if  they  are  discouraged.  How  absurd  this  argument 
is,  we  need  not  say.  Yet  it  had  weight  enough  with  certain 
Government  officials  to  lead  them  to  introduce  dancing- 
girls  into  the  Arts  and  Industries  Exhibition  at  Allahabad 
in  the  winter  of  1910-1911,  and  to  give  prizes  to  the  most 
skilful  of  these  artistes.7  As  one  might  expect  in  such  a 
country  as  India,  Government  example  at  once  led  to 
serious  results.  Here  is  what  the  Rev.  C.  F.  Andrews  of 
Delhi  wrote  to  the  press  on  the  subject : 

1  Indian  Witness,  August  15,  1907.  4 ISR.,  XIX,  565. 

2 ISR.,  XIX,  568.  5  ISR.,  XX,  461. 

3  Harvest  Field,  1909,  p.  190.  8  ISR.,  XX,  127  and  123. 

7  The  Social  Conference  objected.  See  p.  393,  above. 


SOCIAL  REFORM  AND   SERVICE  413 

An  intimate  friend  of  mine,  who  was  knowrn  by  all  the  city  to 
refuse  under  any  circumstances  to  be  present  at  a  wedding  where 
a  nautch  was  a  part  of  the  ceremonies,  was  asked  a  few  days  ago 
to  a  wedding,  and  was  on  the  point  of  accepting  it,  when  he 
discovered  that  a  nautch  was  to  be  held.  When  he  remonstrated 
with  some  indignation,  saying  that  his  own  abstention  from 
nautches  was  well  known  in  the  city,  the  reply  was  immediately 
made  that  now  things  were  different.  The  Government  itself 
was  encouraging  nautches,  and  one  was  being  held  every  night 
at  the  Government  Exhibition.1 

Fortunately,  the  press  of  India,  whether  European  or  In 
dian,  almost  unanimously  condemned  the  action  of  those 
who  had  charge  of  the  Exhibition ; 2  and  public  opinion  was 
so  clearly  expressed  that  we  may  hope  that  little  final  evil 
will  come  of  it. 

Fortunately,  Lord  Morley's  attention  had  been  drawn 
to  the  whole  problem ;  and,  on  the  3rd  of  March,  1911,  he 
addressed  a  despatch  to  the  Government  of  India  on  the 
question : 

My  attention  in  Council  has  lately  been  called  to  the  various 
methods  by  which  female  children  in  India  are  condemned  to  a 
life  of  prostitution,  whether  by  enrolment  in  a  body  of  dancing 
girls  attached  to  a  Hindu  Temple ;  by  symbolical  marriage  to  an 
idol,  a  flower,  a  sword,  or  some  other  material  object;  or  by 
adoption  by  a  prostitute  whose  profession  the  child  is  brought 
up  to  follow.  I  observe  with  satisfaction  that  an  increasing 
section  of  Hindu  Society  regards  the  association  of  religious 
ceremonies  with  the  practice  of  prostitution  with  strong  dis 
approval.  In  Madras,  where  the  Institution  of  Temple  Dancing 
Girls  still  survives,  an  Indian  District  Magistrate,  Mr.  R. 
Ramachandra  Row,  has  expressed  the  opinion  that  Temple 
servants  have  been  degraded  from  their  original  status  to  per 
form  functions  'abhorrent  to  strict  Hindu  religion';  and  in 
Bombay  a  society  for  the  protection  of  children  has  been  formed 
with  the  co-operation  of  leading  Hindu  citizens. 

1  From  the  Leader.     See  ISR.,  XXI,  292.  2  ISR.,  XXI,  306. 


414     MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

I  desire  to  be  informed  of  the  probable  extent  of  the  evil; 
how  far  the  provisions  of  the  Penal  Code,  sections  372  and  373, 
are  in  themselves  sufficient  to  deal  with  it  effectually,  and 
whether  in  your  opinion,  or  that  of  the  Local  Governments,  ade 
quate  steps  are  being  taken  to  enforce  the  law  as  it  at  present 
stands,  or  whether  any,  and  if  so,  what  amendments  of  the  law 
are  required  to  give  reasonable  encouragement  and  suppress 
the  grave  abuse.  The  matter  is  one  in  which  the  weight  of 
public  authority  may  well  be  lent  to  the  furtherance  of  reforms 
advocated  by  the  enlightened  leaders  of  the  communities  to 
which  the  children  belong  whom  the  law  was  intended  to  protect. 

The  Society  for  the  Protection  of  Children  in  Western 
India,  which  consists  of  men  belonging  to  all  faiths,  keeps 
watch  over  the  progress  of  events,  and  seeks  to  rouse 
public  opinion,  and  to  help  Government  in  every  way 
possible.  The  pamphlet  on  Muralis  quoted  above  was 
published  by  them. 

As  this  book  goes  to  press,  the  Government  of  India  is 
passing  a  law  for  the  better  protection  of  girls. 

LITERATURE.  —  Hindu  Customs,  Manners  and  Ceremonies,  by  J.  A. 
Dubois,  Oxford  University  Press.  The  Crown  of  Hinduism,  by  J.  N. 
Farquhar,  Oxford  University  Press.  The  Muralis,  by  V.  R.  Shinde, 
Bombay,  Sharada  Kridan  Press,  half  an  anna.  Lotus  Buds,  by  Amy 
W.  Carmichael,  London,  Morgan  &  Scott.  India  and  its  Problems, 
W.  S.  Lilly,  231-237. 


12.  EDUCATION  OF  BOYS 

In  Ancient  India,  when  the  Hindu  system  took  shape, 
it  was  the  rule  that  every  boy  of  the  three  highest  castes 
should  go  to  some  teacher  and  spend  several  years  in  ac 
quiring  a  religious  education.  All  girls,  and  all  boys  of 
every  other  caste  or  class,  were  by  law  excluded  from  this 
education.  As  the  centuries  passed,  the  percentage  of 
those  taking  the  religious  education  became  less  and  less. 


SOCIAL  REFORM  AND  SERVICE  415 

Doubtless  various  systems  of  secular  education  were  used 
from  time  to  time,  but  none  of  them  took  deep  root  in 
the  country.  When  the  Muhammadans  conquered  India, 
Muslim  education  became  the  passport  to  government 
service  and  high  social  position.  Here  again  it  was  only 
the  few  who  were  educated. 

At  the  beginning  of  the  nineteenth  century  the  illiteracy 
of  India  was  almost  complete.  The  number  of  those  who 
received  any  education  was  exceedingly  small ;  and  in  the 
universal  confusion  of  the  times  things  were  steadily  get 
ting  worse.  It  was  the  missionaries  who  began  to  give  the 
people  education.  But  what  they  gave  them  was  not 
any  Indian  discipline,  but  a  Western  training,  mediated  in 
the  schools  by  the  vernaculars.  A  few  European  laymen 
soon  began  to  help.  Then  Ram  Mohan  Ray  perceived  the 
facts  of  the  situation,  and  became  the  champion  of  Western 
education.  Government  came  round  to  the  same  point 
of  view  in  1835. 

The  one  large  fact  which  we  must  keep  firm  hold  of  in 
thinking  of  education  in  modern  India  is,  that  Western 
education  (which  the  country  clearly  must  have)  comes 
from  an  alien  civilization  and  environment,  and  that  in 
inoculating  the  community  with  this  most  necessary 
remedy  considerable  disturbance  will  inevitably  be  pro 
duced.  This  far-reaching  fact  is  usually  neglected  alto 
gether  by  those  who  condemn  modern  education  in  India 
as  a  failure.1  The  comparison  of  the  results  of  Roman 
education  in  the  provinces  of  the  Empire  would  lead  men 
to  a  saner  estimate  of  the  factors  at  work.  It  is  quite  as 
necessary  to  keep  this  same  truth  in  mind,  if  we  are  to 
understand  why  the  education  of  boys  grows  so  slowly  in 
India.  The  conservatism  of  the  people  and  their  pitiful 

^ 1  Parts  of  Chirol's  writing  on  education  are  weakened  by  a  failure  to  take 
this  most  important  fact  into  full  consideration. 


4i6      MODERN  RELIGIOUS  MOVEMENTS  IN  INDIA 

poverty  are  certainly  powerful  retarding  agents.  Yet  both 
taken  together  do  not  hamper  progress  nearly  so  much  as 
the  inherent  antagonism  of  the  religious  systems  to  Western 
thought  and  life. 

Two  very  healthy  symptoms  may  here  be  mentioned  to 
cheer  the  reformer  and  the  student.  The  first  of  these  is 
Mr.  Gokhale's  bold  attempt  to  secure  universal  education 
in  India  through  Government  action.  The  Bill  which  he 
laid  before  the  Viceroy's  Council  was  rejected;  and,  per 
sonally,  I  am  inclined  to  believe  it  was  well  for  India  that 
it  should  be  rejected ;  yet  the  way  in  which  the  Indian 
press  received  the  proposal  showed  that  the  educated 
class  have  travelled  far  in  opinion  these  last  twenty  years, 
and  that  there  is  in  them  the  possibility  of  still  greater 
advance.  The  second  healthy  symptom  is  this,  that 
competent  Indian  observers  assure  us  that  the  last  few 
years  of  extreme  national  interest  and  excitement  have  so 
stirred  the  common  people  in  certain  parts  of  India  that 
there  is  now  a  keen  desire  for  widespread  education,  and 
such  a  willingness  to  allow  children  to  attend  school  as 
has  not  been  known  before. 

In  1902,  22.2  per  cent  of  the  boys  of  school-going  age  in 
India  were  at  school ;  in  1912  the  percentage  had  risen  to  29. 

13.  EDUCATION  OF  GIRLS 

The  ancient  ideal  for  high-caste  Hindus  was  that,  when 
children  reached  the  age  of  eight  to  twelve,  the  boys  should 
go  to  school,  and  the  girls  should  be  married.1  The  deep 
distinction  here  implied  has  not  only  been  taught  the 
Hindu  people  for  two  thousand  five  hundred  years,  but 
has  been  worked  into  their  very  nature  and  character  by 
a  series  of  institutions  such  as  no  other  country  has  ever 
possessed.  Girls  have  been  married  before  reaching 

1  Crown  of  Hinduism,  93-94. 


SOCIAL  REFORM  AND   SERVICE  417 

puberty.  Their  husbands  have  been  free  to  marry  as 
many  wives  as  they  chose  to  have.  No  husband  has 
eaten  with  his  wife.  The  widow  has  been  prevented  from 
remarrying,  while  the  widower  has  had  severe  pressure 
brought  to  bear  upon  him  to  induce  him  to  remarry,  if 
he  was  disinclined.  For  some  fifteen  hundred  years,  the 
Hindu  widow  was  taught  that  the  noblest  thing  she  could 
do  was  to  burn  herself  upon  the  pyre  with  her  husband. 
For  six  hundred  years,  high-caste  women  have  been  closely 
shut  up  in  the  zenana.  Finally  there  was  another  fact 
which  told  for  a  long  time : 

Courtesans,  whose  business  in  life  is  to  dance  in  the  temples 
and  at  public  ceremonies,  and  prostitutes  are  the  only  women 
who  are  allowed  to  learn  to  read,  sing,  or  dance.  It  would  be 
thought  a  disgrace  to  a  respectable  woman  to  learn  to  read; 
and  even  if  she  had  learnt  she  would  be  ashamed  to  own  it.1 

This  feeling  does  not  tell  so  powerfully  now  as  it  did  a 
century  ago. 

When  we  take  all  these  factors  into  consideration,  we 
are  not  astonished  to  find  that  the  proposal  to  give  Hindu 
girls  an  education  has  made  very  little  progress  in  the 
community.  The  whole  Hindu  scheme  of  things  has 
operated  to  keep  the  people  from  giving  their  girls  an 
education. 

It  was  missionaries  who  began  the  education  of  girls. 
They  wer